“For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return” – Leonardo da Vinci
Renaissance Men. Dave Bush of Southern Wine & Spirits parties like it was 1499 with daVinci owner Dave Neary and daVinci G.M. & Wine Director, Franco Debartolo
Dave Neary has vision: he has to; as one of Southern California’s most prominent real estate developers, he has built numerous restaurants.
His company, Westland Construction, created the building complex known as Daugherty Sky Harbor, a property located on the private general aviation side of the Long Beach Airport. “We developed the entire project, from offices to airplane hangars and we thought a restaurant would be a perfect fit,” Neary told Patterson’s. The grounds also house a day spa, deli, conference rooms and, for those who want to throw a party for up to one thousand, spacious hangars can morph into banquet halls.
With a panoramic view of the flight path of million dollar private jets, Neary, his partners and Stefano Colaiacomo (the restaurant’s illustrious Chef) opened Stefano’s da Vinci Ristorante this past August. The 8,500 square foot space includes balconies, a temperature-controlled wine cellar above the bar, an outdoor patio and enough room for the upcoming private club, soon to be named.
“Our story is just beginning,” offered Neary. “We gravitate towards the unconventional and avant garde.”
Neary and his team will never be backed against a wall, but instead, open up horizons for the future of the restaurant industry.
The 8,500 square foot space includes a temperature-controlled wine cellar above the bar
Father of Invention
Leonardo da Vinci, the man’s art, architecture and inventions, are paid homage at this spectacular restaurant. Light fixtures shaped as parachutes are a tribute to the artist’s concept, centuries before their use. “Flying machines” and the first helicopter visualized by Leonardo hang from the ceiling.
A repertoire of da Vinci’s art changes face in electronically controlled frames on the wall.
Stefano’s Tour of Italy
Stefano Colaiacomo is an innovator in the kitchen, some say he is far ahead of his time, as was Leonardo da Vinci. His menu spans the Italian map, with dishes hailing from Abbruzzo to Umbria. Pictured here from Stefano’s recipe book is “Sacchetto d’Aragosta,” a delicate crepe bag filled with Maine lobster and Mascarpone cheese lavished in a Champagne tomato sauce. We paired it with a Vox martini, just to be inventive.
At night, Long Beach lights glisten, a fantastic view from da Vinci’s patio, which faces the private airfield at Daughtery Sky Park.
Meet Bob Trusella
Director of Operations for da Vinci Ristorante, Bob Trusella has 35 years of on-premise experience. His awards and accolades are numerous. In Las Vegas, he worked at Crustacean and Bally’s and in Los Angeles, was voted Maitre d’ of the year two times running by the Southern California Restaurant Writers for stints at Madeo in Long Beach and Trump National Golf Course on the Palos Verdes Peninsula.
“Four years ago, Stefano and I were designing the back bar here,” says Trusella, pointing to the multi-leveled bar and wine cellar.
The restaurant may have been four years in the making, but Trusella contends that it was the dream of Stefano, Dave Neary and an all-star crew as well as supportive distributor partners that made it the success to which it has evolved in its short existence.
“Dave Bush of Southern Wine & Spirits has been one of the most influential people in setting up our wine and spirits program here, and any other restaurant where I have been fortunate to work with him.”
Trusella, who once presided over 146 hotels as F&B Director for Capstar, stands tall in his glory at da Vinci, where guests long to return.