For over twenty years, the site of the currently-under-construction Aptos Village at Soquel Drive and Trout Gulch Road was home to Aptos Post Office. Aptos Post Office was one of the most legendary dirt bike jump spots and was razed in 2015 to make way for Aptos Village, a mixed-use development ten years in the planning. When this neighborhood square finally opens its doors, it will have replaced one legend with another, that of The Bywater, and Michelin-starred Manresa fame, David Kinch, who’s two aforementioned eateries are both located in Los Gatos.
To better appeal to the more rural, laid-back vibe expected in the small beach town of Aptos, Kinch, who lives in Santa Cruz, is revamping Manresa’s sophisticated French cuisine to one with an Italian twist. This culinary change will mesh with the eatery’s locale but will also pay tribute to its namesake: the restaurant will be christened Mentone after the French town, Menton, perched on the French Italian border in the Côte d’Azur.
Mentone’s menu is inspired by foods from Southern France to the Ligurian Coast of Italy and will feature pasta, seafood, salads, and most importantly, pizza. Fresh produce will be locally sourced from farms throughout Santa Cruz County while the pizzas and pastas will be created from whole grain flours milled at none other than, you guessed it, Manresa Bread. Beer and wine will also be served, with the restaurant’s bar seating about fifteen.
Pizza will be the centerpiece of Kinch’s newest endeavor, baked in a wood-fired oven sourced directly from Naples. Todd Parker, former sous chef at Manresa Restaurant, will be Mentone’s head chef. Says General Manager, Chris Sullivan, of Chef Parker, “He has been working at Manresa Bread developing a pizza dough recipe over the past few months. We have created a naturally fermented, sourdough crust with a 48-hour fermentation period. The purpose of such a long process is better flavor development and easier digestion.”
Mentone’s 3,000 square feet will offer seating for about one hundred diners. Sullivan wants the atmosphere to match the menu: a casual, neighborhood haunt with great food, a place “where people are comfortable coming in once or twice every week.”
The $40 million Aptos Village project broke ground in 2015. Set in the heart of this small town, it will be a pedestrian-friendly town square with a blend of restaurants, boutique shops, a grocer housed in an old apple barn, and approximately 70 residences. The project is nearing completion and Mentone is hoping to fire up its pizza oven in the summer of 2019.