Using Italian Family Recipes

(from left) Jake, Kristen, Robert and Gianna Valenti. Amanda Gregg photo

Robert Valenti
Owner Bobby V’s Restaurant and Pizzeria

Tell us about your business.

We’re Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, and we have 19 employees. We are your typical neighborhood Italian restaurant, serving home-cooked traditional Italian dishes, pizza and calzones in a casual family atmosphere.

How did you get started in this business and how long has it been going?

Both my wife and myself have been in the restaurant business most of our adult lives. We both grew up in traditional Italian families both our families are from Sicily where food, the cooking, consumption and gathering of families and friends was such a big part of our world. So the restaurant business was a natural path for both of us to follow. We celebrated our second anniversary June 6.

Where are you from originally, and what role does that play in your business?

We’re both from Boston. My wife Kristen has lived here on Kaua’i for 17 years, and I’ve lived here for almost 25 years. Oddly enough, we met here on Kaua’i 11 years ago. We both bring to the restaurant the love of food and enjoying that with family and friends an aspect that we both grew up with and that’s the atmosphere we hope our customers feel when they dine at Bobby V’s.

What is your specialty?

That’s a tough one. We feel everything on our menu is special. When we first opened, pizza and calzones accounted for a majority of our sales. But over time we’ve seen a lot of our regulars cross over to try our homemade sauces and entrees: lasagna, eggplant Parmesan and cheese manicotti. Currently, we have a perfect balance with our pasta and our pizza sales.

How do you come up with the recipes?

They are traditional recipes that have been handed down from both our families.

What sets your business apart?

While Kaua’i has a good number of both Italian restaurants and places that sell pizza, we feel we are the only place that combines the Italian restaurant and its traditional dishes with a pizzeria that has a casual family atmosphere under one roof.

Why do you do what you do?

We both love what we do. The restaurant business is a very social business, and we are both very social people and have been blessed with the many relationships that have grown from our years in this business.

The restaurant business is notoriously hard. What motivates you to get up and go to work every day?

The goal of pleasing every customer. It’s good to set the bar high.

Do you have a business motto or philosophy for doing business?

Keep it fun: Do what you love, love what you do.

What is the most challenging aspect of your business?

Maintaining consistency in both the front and back of the house. The turnover rate in the restaurant business is usually high, which means constant training. This aspect can’t be overlooked or your consistency will suffer.

When are you open and where can people learn more about your business?

We are open for breakfast buffet daily from 7 to 10:30 a.m. ($8.99 for full buffet, $6.99 with a Bobby V’s kamaaina card) and for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. We are located at 4-788 Kuhio Highway in Kapa’a. Reservations aren’t required, but we recommend large parties call ahead: 821-8080. Our website address is www.bobbyvpizzeria.com.

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