The idea of keeping things fresh isn’t limited to the kitchen when it comes to Kevin and Shar Katz.
The Caffe Italia owner operators work on keeping all areas of their restaurant — front and back of the house — up to date in addition to finding new ways to influence the world around them.
“We’re always developing new things,” Shar said. “We have the fire pizza oven at the Farmer’s Market for the Pizza with a Purpose project to benefit Davis Farm to School program.”
The program helps bring awareness of nutrition to local schools, and with two children of their own, this area is special to the Katz family. They have worked to put together solid meals and family friendly dinning at Caffe Italia. The children, Jagger, 7, and Gabrielle, 5, also help in this area.
“We’ve always supported the schools,” Shar said. “The kids inspired family fun night, the idea to put crayons and paper on the table, and the clubs princess and pirate night. … They are also taste testers for things kids might like.”
The reward long-time customers and get others coming back, Caffe Italia offers its Royalty Reward program. Individuals can join via the website or pick up a card when dining. They earn points toward free birthday meals, anniversary specials, along with email invites to special events.
“It’s a way to stay connected with our customers,” Shar said.
The strong connection with customers and outstanding food have been a trademark of the Katz’s family, since they opened their first restaurant in Chico. Kevin’s parents started the family business in 1965. After expanding to two restaurants in Chico, run by Kevin’s brother and mother, the family opened the business in Davis in 1982. Kevin worked the restaurant with his father until taking it over completely in 1984.
“This is very much family, very home-grown,” Shar said. “We very much enjoy being in the town of Davis with the university, we have the students, and we have our loyal customers, who we call ’seasoned veterans.’ ”
With a wide-array of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner, it’s hard to have a single favorite. For those who are new to Caffe Italia, Shar recommends the 2-2-2 for breakfast — french toast, eggs and bacon. For dinner, chicken fettuccine is always a solid choice; however, Shar leans toward the newer item: fajita fettuccine.
Whether it’s putting a new spin on an old favorite or dressing the wait staff up as pirates, Caffe Italia is always looking for ways to keep the dining experience fresh.
“We love being a family business that caters to family,” Shar said. “We love that we’ve been here a long time. With our kids so young, we hope to be here another 30 years.”