Water to Wine

Foodies along the coast let out a unified “Praise thee, Bacchus!” when they learned the guys behind The Winery Restaurant & Wine Bar (thewineryrestaurant.net) would open a second resto where Villa Nova had entertained generations of foodies. We caught up with partner and chef Yvon Goetz to get the scoop on what’s to come.  

Yvon Goetz

You’ve been to Villa Nova a gazillion times. What’d you like best about it? Location, location, location! The waterfront setting is one that every restaurant in O.C. would like to have.

You guys signed a lease with the new landowner, Mike Moshayedi. Is he giving you free rein to do what you want? He’s a fan of our Tustin location, so he trusts our judgment and is as excited as we are to replicate the energy and vibe of The Winery.

Villa Nova’s been a beloved landmark restaurant for decades. Any reservations about changing the brand…? My partners JC Clow, William Lewis and I hope to breathe new life into the space and continue in the same vein as a community institution.

By the way, how long-term is that lease? The key words are ‘long term.’ We signed a 15-year lease with two five-year options—so potentially for the next 25 years!

Everyone loves seeing you work your magic in the kitchen, but you can’t be two places at once… I’ll be able to oversee both locations with my partners, but I’ll focus most of my energy on the Newport location. My Chef de Cuisine Daniel Garcia’s well equipped to direct the culinary team in Tustin. I’m excited for this opportunity for Daniel.

This is a chance for creativity, so let’s get creative. What would be the craziest thing you’d put on the menu if there were no holds barred? I already flex my creativity on a daily basis. We feature some really interesting dishes of wild game, incredible seafood and cuts of meat that you’ll be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in the county. I’ve never been shy about being daring, as long as someone is there to enjoy it!