July 30, 2008
Last Chance

Fans of Monticello Bistro in Winters have only August in which to savor the restaurant's seasonal Saturday-night dinners. After August, the place is history, reports Rhonda Gruska, who with her husband Tony has operated the bistro the past two years.

But get your chins off the floor, fans. The Gruskas are moving to a new venue that will allow them to extend their hours and expand their concept. They are teaming up with Aziz Fattahi, owner of Village Bakery in Davis to open Village Pizza and Grill in a converted house at 4th and G in downtown Davis.

In Winters, the Gruskas have been sharing space with the tapas cafe Ficelle, which has been operating weekdays. Now, however, Ficelle is to start serving dinners Saturday, which is when Monticello Bistro takes over the quarters.

At Village Pizza and Grill, the Gruskas and Fattahi at least initially will focus on pizzas to range in style from basic interpretations already available at Village Bakery to more contemporary versions that will emphasize the sorts of regional and seasonal ingredients the couple showcases at Monticello Bistro. The August menu at Monticello Bistro includes such dishes as grilled figs with goat cheese and honey, cold cucumber soup with wasabi, caprese salad with grilled bruschetta, a Yolo heirloom-tomato gazpacho, grilled Niman Ranch sirloin steak, and housemade pasta with cherry tomatoes, summer squash and parmesan.

Rhonda Gruska is uncertain when the new place will open. At best, it could debut in early fall, but six months or so also could be needed to get the place ready. "It's all up to the City of Davis," she says, noting that city officials are reviewing plans to remodel the house.

For more information on Monticello Bistro's schedule, call (530) 792-8066.

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