CANFIELD, Ohio – Napa Grocery, the California-style grocery store that opened today, is a new concept for the Valley.
The owners developed the idea on the basis of their extensive experience in the restaurant business, their knowledge of their favorite cuisine and their desire to adapt to changing consumer habits.
Nunzio Scordo and Aaron Hynek are the owners and operators of Napa Grocery, 4350 Boardman Canfield Road – the former site of Peaberry’s coffee shop. It’s a place where patrons can buy freshly prepared gourmet quality foods from the kitchen counter, pay for it at the cash register, then find a table in the dining room or patio, or take it home to eat.
A menu of frequently changing meat, fish and poultry dishes, determined by what is in season and freshest, will be prepared daily by Chef Scordo.
“We’re trying to make this place an ode to California but more in a philosophical way,” Scordo said. “California cuisine is farm-to-table, super seasonal, using locally sourced ingredients. We take that concept and put it in this building, with a few cafe seats and a retail section that has groceries that you can’t find in other stores.
Retail grocery items include pasta, sauces and jars of imported vegetables, hummus, and other items.
“You might find similar foods [around the Valley]”said Scordo,” but not those brands and not that level of quality. “
The main focus of Napa Grocery is prepared foods. The goal of the owners in developing the concept was to minimize the stress, manpower, and tedious workload of an upscale restaurant, while putting more energy into the quality of the food.
“The idea is to provide restaurant quality food,” said Hynek. “You can come order it and leave with a package to take home and serve to your family. “
Scordo and Hynek are both trained chefs with decades of restaurant experience. At Napa Grocery, Scordo will take care of the kitchen and Hynek will take care of the front of the house, but they will change tasks as needed. The owners target foodies who appreciate fine dining, fresh ingredients and convenience.
“We’re not going to be the cheapest place,” Scordo said. “We aim to be a place for people who really know food… a mecca for all the good things in the food world. “
There will be take-out ready meals in deli containers, as well as fresh oven entrees available for purchase at the counter.
Scordo explained with this example: “I could have a whole fillet roasted with herbs. [on a given day] and a customer might say “give me three slices” and I will ask “how thick do you want them?” “”
Scordo will also be cooking different types of seafood every day, including crab cakes, and “whatever we can come up with that we know is good food and seasonally focused,” he said. There will also be a seafood boil every Saturday, he says.
A daily specialty will be the Roman pizza, an item he brings to the valley.
“It involves a dough-making process that most people haven’t seen,” Scordo said. “Making dough isn’t the usual six to eight hours. It’s a 48 to 72 hour process. There is a long period of fermentation during which the gluten breaks down and it becomes very light and airy. It’s easy to digest and doesn’t make you feel full. Once you have a pizza like this, it will be very difficult to get another one.
One thing Napa Grocery won’t offer is French chicken, “and anything you can get at any restaurant around the corner,” Scordo said. “Our food will be motivated by freshness, lots of herbs, salsas and condiments” and will include lots of roast meats.
The window-lined warehouse is located at the front of a small plaza on US Route 224 just east of Canfield with plenty of parking. The owners spent about $ 200,000 to transform the space and hired a dozen employees.
Scordo and Hynek have been talking about the concept for 20 years. They both have decades of restaurant experience as chefs, managers, and owners and have worked in multiple states and overseas.
Hailing from Struthers, Scordo sold two restaurants he owned – Driftwood Southern Kitchen and Bodega Tapas – in Raleigh, NC, to start Napa Grocery.
Dining, he explained, can take over your life and the Napa concept is designed to make things easier and allow more free time.
“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 30 years and I said, ‘I don’t want to do this anymore,’” he said. “We had this idea 20 years ago and now we can make it happen. It is about doing what we like to do without the confines of a restaurant, to have a life and not to work 70 hours a week, because it has been the reality for 20 years … It is much less of stress. In the kitchen, it’s preparation work. Up front, it’s a deli and cashier job.
Hynek said the concept allows them to make a higher quality product, but with more efficient operation. It will also benefit from a change in consumption habits towards take-out meals caused by the pandemic.
“The pizza and takeaway business has exploded [in the past year], “he said.” It’s a format where the food is packaged and when you bring it home, it’s the quality you expect. “
The Napa grocery store is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.