A Sonoma Valley native, Dean Castelli didn't know as a young adult that a part-time job at a restaurant would spark his passion for the hospitality industry or that he would one day be working at the very restaurant where he and his wife had their first date. Now with 15 years of management and business ownership experience under his belt he has found his home at Nick's Cove Restaurant | Oyster Bar | Cottages. While studying at Napa Valley College, Castelli pursued his part-time interest of building racecars in his father's garage and took a summer job at The Restaurant at Domaine Chandon (now the Michelin-starred étoile). He was instantly hooked on the business, from interacting with his guests and colleagues to being a part of how the food was crafted and pairing it with beautiful wines. He remained at the restaurant for five years before taking some time off to travel in Europe.
Returning to California, Castelli worked in various management positions at the Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance Resort for three years before moving to The Girl and the Fig restaurant. His experience at the restaurant bolstered his restaurant management skills, which proved invaluable when he decided to open his own restaurant, Mondo, in 2008. Appealing to his creative side, Castelli also spent two years freelancing as a retail and restaurant fabricator and designer.
Now at Nick's Cove, he culminates all his skills to ensure that each guest is happy and that the staff provides refined, unpretentious and warm service.
"I want my guests to leave Nick's Cove Restaurant | Oyster Bar | Cottages feeling like they have just had dinner at the home of their new best friends, and with the feeling that we will always be a familiar, friendly and warm place that they look forward to returning to," said Castelli.
Among the many dishes on the menu, Castelli sites the comforting Dungeness Crab Risotto and the Bolognese as his two fall favorites as they remind him of his childhood, where he would enjoy festive family meals at the table of his Italian grandparents. From the wine list he has a fondness for the bottle of Olivier LeFlaive Chablis, which he and wife shared on their first date at Nick's Cove Restaurant | Oyster Bar | Cottages.
In his spare time, Castelli enjoys spending time with his wife Amber and their daughter Makena. He is also an avid cyclist and fisherman.