Chef Christopher Kostow was sad to see his favorite, go-to Napa Valley restaurant go under last year, and while he thought about reviving the space as a new concept, he's decided instead to let it live on, much the way it was.
Christopher Kostow has three Michelin stars under his belt and a growing restaurant empire in his own right — with his wife Martina he is the owner of The Charter Oak in St. Helena and last year the couple debuted a "Jew-ish" deli and bagel shop, Loveski's, at Oxbow Public Market, in addition to his being executive chef at the still-closed Restaurant at Meadowood. Now, as the Napa Valley Register reports, the couple is taking over Ciccio, the downtown Yountville pizza-and-Negronis spot — and Michael Bauer favorite — that has long been a locals' haunt.
Ciccio debuted in late 2012 and shuttered in 2022, and Kostow tells the Register that he immediately approached longtime owner Frank Altamura — also the owner of Altamura Vineyards — about taking over the space. Kostow says that while he was tempted to change things up with the concept, he decided it was more important to the community that he preserve it.
"We don’t plan many changes — everyone, including us, loves what Frank and his team have created," Kostow tells the Register. "But we will, of course, make some minor tweaks here and there because that is just in our nature."
Kostow adds, speaking to the Chronicle, "The space always felt like the perfect intersection of locals and visitors. It just felt like a gem. It had this feeling like you just found the right spot." And he says, unlike so many places in the Valley, "It never felt chef-y, and that’s really important."
The plan is to reopen Ciccio, with the addition of reservations — something that was never offered before — by late spring.
The Kostows are giving the interior a refresh, and Chef Kostow says the menu will remain "simple, product-focused, humble and not overly complicated," while taking advantage of the gardens and suppliers used at Charter Oak.
"Having access to produce that’s often picked only hours before going onto the plate is so important to us," Martina Kostow tells the Register.
Presumably, the big letters on the exterior saying "MARKET" — a tribute to the building's original use, from 1916 to 1983, as Tonascia Market — will remain.
The Restaurant at Meadowood, meanwhile, has been slated for a reopening, but as of October the resort was said to be "still in the planning stages" for that reopening. In the meantime, they've opened a new restaurant on the property called Forum, helmed by former La Toque chef Scot Livingston, which has a vibe similar to the former Meadowood Grill, but straddles the line between casual and finer dining with the menu.
Kostow has been at the helm at the Restaurant at Meadowood for 15 years, and the restaurant earned its third Michelin star in 2010 and has held three stars ever since.
Ciccio - 6770 Washington Street, Yountville - Reopening late spring 2023
Top image: Photo by Lisa W./Yelp