Caffe Acri and Servino Ristorante
Caffe Acri & Servino Ristorante
In 1978, one year after Angelo Servino moved to Tiburon from his hometown of Acri, Italy, he and his wife, Kathryn, opened Servino Ristorante on Lower Ark Row. Over the next 21 years, the gregarious entrepreneur turned his eatery into a popular local destination.
In 1999, Servino relocated to the Tiburon waterfront where it continued to serve the community until this year, when the family decided to move it back to its original location on Ark Row - only now with much more space to serve its customers.
Both sons, Natale and Vittorio, are now grown and involved in running the family business. They say they feel very fortunate to have grown up in Tiburon with its close proximity to nature – hiking and mountain biking in the shadow of Ring Mountain.
Oldest son, Natale, says he remembers when he and Vittorio were kids, one of their favorite pastimes was to run around between Servino Ristorante and Ark Angels, the yellow-painted flower shop located right next door. This child’s play was the foreshadowing of a dream that one day, the two buildings would be truly connected.
Now, more than 40 years later, that dream will become a reality. With the move back to its original location, Servino is expanding to take over Ed’s Garage space to become a bar, and the yellow building next door will be used as a private party and overflow dining room.
The original dining room is currently being renovated, and experts are working on floor and ceiling changes to improve the acoustics. The new bar will offer outdoor seating and will be open during dinner hours. More outdoor seating will be set up in the breezeway between the two major buildings and on the deck attached to the yellow ark.
Angelo’s nephew, Massimo Covello, is the enterprises’ executive chef. He started out specializing in sweets and pastries, moving on to savories later in his career. “Massimo has a delicate touch and a keen sense of flavor,” Natale says.
Massimo also will be in charge of the food sold at Caffe Acri, including pinsas, pizzas, sauces, pastas, salads and much more. All ingredients are farm fresh, with much of the produce and fresh chicken eggs coming from the Sonoma County organic farm in Penn Grove where Natale and his new wife, Namita, now live.
When the pandemic hit, Servino was one of the first restaurants in town to begin selling take-out meals, pastas, sauces, half-baked pies, lasagna and pizza kits, all via a take-out window.
Under Vittorio’s management, Caffe Acri also quickly pivoted to become a mini grocery store, selling such items as toilet paper and cleaning supplies as well as yeast, flour, eggs, sugar, milk and fresh fruits and vegetables, in addition to complete take-out meals.
Just recently, Caffe Acri has undergone a renewal in its décor and has transformed into an intimate pop-up evening bistro. During the day – 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. – it is the bustling café that we all have come to know and love, but from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, it now serves such dishes as pastas, pinsas, pizzas, lasagna and salads amid new furnishings and candlelight.
Servino has several dozen loyal staff that the family plans to continue employing upon opening in its new (old!) location. They expect to be open for business on Ark Row later this fall.