Paul Violante started working at Scopazzi’s in 1983 when the previous owner asked him to come on as a cook, putting a succession plan in place that came to fruition three years later when Violante became the chef/owner.
His journey started on the Santa Cruz Wharf, where he went from cleaning windows to cleaning fish, dishwashing to prep cooking, then line cook to chef.
Scopazzi’s combines mountain character and continental Italian cuisine. Lightly breaded calamari and sautéed artichoke hearts start things off, and the entrées include filet mignon, chicken parmesan and pastas such as lemon pepper linguine with prawns.
Made-in-house desserts include Grand Marnier cheesecake, tiramisu and Angel Strata Pie with layers of meringue and chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream. The wine list features both local selections and European offerings. Open Wednesday-Sunday, hours are 11:30am-3pm for lunch and 4-9pm for dinner with a Sunday breakfast from 10:30am.
What makes Scopazzi’s so special?
PAUL VIOLANTE: First of all, it’s the ambiance. It would be hard to find another restaurant with this much character, when people walk in, they are truly in awe. The redwood walls, fine drapery, etched glass, huge original open-hearth fireplace and high A-frame ceilings really set the feeling of the dining experience. And it’s fine dining with old-school French cart service, we do tableside preparations like our well-known Caesar salad, flambé pepper steaks, Cherries Jubilee and Bananas Foster. We are the only restaurant in the county to offer these services for show.
What has been the key to your success in the industry?
PV: I have always loved what I did and I also love the instant gratification of the food. When you create something and it’s well-received, it’s a really great feeling. Just like a rock star on stage getting a standing ovation it’s a wonderful feeling creating art with food that others enjoy. It makes you want to come back the next day and do it again, and it makes all the other hard work that comes along with owning a restaurant much easier.
13300 Big Basin Way, Boulder Creek, 831-338-4444; scopazzisrestaurant.com