September 16, 2018 – Ever clever as if developing a new password that would bring a smile to the discoverer, Kinch has arrived on a name for his new venture that cracks open the portico to his much-anticipated Aptos Village restaurant concept. Mentone is the Italian spelling for the French village of Menton on the French/Italian border, literally the last stop on the Côte d’Azur before you cross into Italy.
The town actually did not become part of France until 1860, having previously belonged to the Republic of Genoa, then Monaco and then Sardinia. And even after World War II, it was fought over. An English doctor discovered it to be a great place for folks with tuberculosis to mend, and English and Russian aristocrats built many palaces, hotels and other grand structures that were used as recuperative hospitals during World War I. The climate is Mediterranean hot in the summer, and mild in the winter, a climate favored by its abundant citrus groves.
The Riviera, from Nice to Genoa, turns out to be the chief inspiration behind Kinch’s latest restaurant concept, which is going into the new Aptos Village development. Apparently, this project has been brewing for quite some time. “We have a French background and this is our Italianate effort. It’s going to be a Riviera spin on coastal California cuisine. It will allow us the freedom to do what we want, be more creative.”
Heavily French and Italian-influenced, one can imagine polenta, fresh fish, octopus and vegetable-focused dishes, with fresh herbs, olive oil, a light touch and plenty of flavor. Says Kinch, “Does what I just described sound like the Central Coast? It’s a similar concept, with all the same fresh ingredients.”
Oh, and yes, there will be pizza, because how can there be lasting culinary love in the world without pizza? In fact, pizza is expected to be the centerpiece. Kinch explained that the Mentone concept stemmed from his chef de cuisine’s desire to make pizza. And conveniently, they already have a source for the perfect flour: their very own milling equipment used by baker Avery Ruzicka of Manresa Bread.
The chef at The Bywater (Los Gatos) is already planning to make a mortadella pizza, using his housemade mortadella. Now that’s something we’ll sign up for.
Kinch himself admits to being a fan of a local west side pizza and salad place in Santa Cruz that has won his heart. He’s very fond of the chef’s exquisite Neapolitan pies, made with simple, fresh ingredients. “The pizza is fantastic!” says Kinch. He couldn’t tell you what the crust is like or how it is cooked, but he can tell you unequivocally that he loves this stuff.
Despite earlier rumors that they weren’t ordering a pizza oven for the Aptos concept, it turns out that they will, indeed, be getting an oven from Naples. They just haven’t quite settled on the model yet.
Kinch expects it might arrive sometime after the first of the year and is thinking that maybe they could be open in the late February to early March timeframe. There will be seating for around 100, including a spacious bar. They’re still debating the layout.
What he knows for sure is that it will be fun and casual. And that definitely brings a smile to our lips.
Laura Ness is a longtime wine journalist, columnist and judge who contributes regularly to Edible Monterey Bay, Spirited, WineOh.Tv, Los Gatos Magazine and Wine Industry Network, and a variety of consumer publications. Her passion is telling stories about the intriguing characters who inhabit the fascinating world of wine and food.