NAPLES — The story of Osetra Caviar and Champagne Bar opening later this summer began not in Russia, Paris or even New York City.
It began on the beach here in Naples when Anthony Chinaglia and Milos Simovic met playing soccer. They became friends and stayed in touch over the course of a decade, eventually deciding to open their own restaurant and bar after years of working in family restaurants and catering businesses.
Chinaglia and Simovic, who are both in their 20s, have already experienced a lifetime of gourmet cuisine. In addition to spending their lives in family-restaurant businesses — Chinaglia previously owned Mr. Five Restaurant in East Naples — both have traveled the world extensively. They speak five languages between them and say the menu at Osetra reflects the decadent cuisine they’ve enjoyed in their travels.
“I’ve spent a lot of time on the coast of Sardinia and at 5 or 6:30 in the evening, with the sunset going down, soft candles on the patio and amazing food; that’s what we want to recreate here at Osetra,” said Chinaglia, who is Italian. “That’s where so many of the culinary trends come from, and we’re pulling from one of the hottest trends around the world right now — Champagne bars with great food.”
As the name implies, Chinaglia and Simovic are most excited about the different types of caviar they’ll serve. Osetra is a specific type of caviar, but Chinaglia and Simovic will serve many varieties with all of the accoutrements caviar aficionados have come to expect. They have partnered with Petrossian, a company that’s been supplying caviar for nearly a century, since two Armenian brothers, Melkoum and Mouchegh Petrossian, introduced caviar to Paris in the 1920s.
“We’re really excited also about the caviar tastings we plan to offer because we want to educate people about caviar, including the garnish and Champagne that goes so beautifully with it,” said Simovic. “And at Osetra, we’ll also serve many small plates, so you’re not limited to large meals. People will be able to have a variety of exquisite foods with a glass or bottle of their favorite Champagne.”
Chinaglia and Simovic say they will serve daily caviar specials at market price. A Petrossian Special Reserve Osetra, however, requires a 24-hour pre-order and costs thousands of dollars. Along with straight caviar orders, many of Osetra’s dishes will contain caviar. Chinaglia and Simovic have added a black-and-red caviar martini to the menu.
Recently, both owners traveled to Manhattan, where they trained at the Petrossian headquarters. The experience helped shape how they’ve planned the menu and the décor. A long list of wine and Champagne will accent the menu. Small bites will include dishes like duck prosciutto skewers, slice T-bone crostini with arugula, Parmesan, cherry tomato and balsamic glaze, and a raw oyster selection.
Showcase dishes, such as colossal crab meat martinis and seafood platters that come with oysters, shrimp, crab and lobster, will flank more mainstream dishes like tuna niçoise salad and lobster or crab bisque. One of the most decadent non-caviar items on Osetra’s menu is Chinaglia and Simovic’s “Petrossian Tasting,” which will feature truffle pate, pork saucisson (sausage) sec, Champagne paté, artisanal cheese and Italian crostini. “Land” samplers that resemble gourmet charcuterie and various carpaccio are also planned.
In between dining and vintner pursuits, Chinaglia and Simovic have planned a soundtrack to match the mood they’ve envisioned for their new restaurant, which will stay open to serve fine food until 2 a.m., a rarity in Naples, where late-night food is largely limited to fast food and pizza.
“At Osetra, the music will reflect the vibe of the restaurant,” said Chinaglia, who says he and Simovic plan to frequently have live music, including acoustic guitar performances throughout the late afternoon and into the evening. “We also love old movies, and the songs from those eras really fit with what we’re doing at Osetra.”
As part of their business model, Chinaglia and Simovic plan to work with local yacht clubs and other organizations. They are also building a small boutique that will feature Petrossian products people can purchase to enjoy at home.
The décor was planned meticulously by Chinaglia and Simovic and their designer, Danielle Masseria, who says the style is reflective of the inside of an oyster shell.
“In the décor, we definitely drew a comparison to caviar and all of the wonderful dishes that come from the sea,” said Masseria. “Even some of the fixtures resemble the tiny caviar eggs we will be serving here.”
Planning to open in mid-August, Osetra’s hours will be 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. every day except Sunday. The restaurant is located at 469 Fifth Ave. S., in Naples and is slated to open in mid-August. For more information on the exact opening date and grand opening festivities, call (239) 331-8136 or click to www.OsetraNaples.com.