By Mike Kinney
A relatively new Italian restaurant in Richmond was inspired by the popularity of foods that were being prepared and sold from a local family’s home. And with so few Italian options in a city known for its many taco trucks, opening David’s Pastas & Pizzas at 1025 13th St. was a “no-brainer,” said David Guillen Jr.
Guillen Jr., 22, recently launched the new restaurant with his chef father David Guillen Sr. After moving to the U.S. from Mexico, Guillen Sr. worked his way up in the food industry from janitor at McDonald’s to most recently being owner-chef of Famiglia Italian Restaurant in Pinole. The senior Guillen decided to part ways with Famiglia and open up a new spot for himself and his family. For months prior to opening David Pastas & Pizzas, the Guillens were selling their Italian fare from their home. The popularity of their food “motivated us even more to open a permanent spot” and “bring something new to the city,” Guillen Jr. said.
“Richmond has always been a city that we have been proud to call home, so we didn’t hesitate when the opportunity showed up to open here on 13th Street,” he said.
Guillen Jr. considers the most popular orders at David Pastas & Pizzas to be the Spaghetti di Mare, one of two seafood pastas the eatery serves. “The di Mare consists of prawns, clams, calamari and mussels topped off with our lobster bisque sauce. This plate has become a hit in our eyes to many seafood lovers,” Guillen Jr. said.
The three-cheese ravioli, which can be served with any sauce on the menu, is another popular specialty. Popular pizzas include Tequila and BBQ Chicken.
“They may not be what comes up in your mind when you hear Italian food, but they are starting to be popular in the area,” Guillen Jr. said. “We also serve other traditional pastas like the Fettuccine Alfredo, which is our top seller and Spaghetti Carbonara. We try to add weekly specials of many different Italian plates to give our customers reasons to come back and try something new.”
Working together as a family has been a bonus for the Guillens, who ensure Chef Guillen Sr. can keep focused on working his magic in the kitchen.
“The advantages of working together as a family is that even at the busiest time, we are able to spend time with each other even if we’re running around making orders and serving tables,” Guillen Jr. said.
Still, the family makes certain to spend time together while off the clock. David’s Pastas & Pizzas closes Sundays so the family can attend church before heading off to the Richmond Flea Market to meet up at Guillen Jr.’s grandparents’ spot.
“There is never a dull moment when the family is together,” he said, “which is why we decided to close that day and have it free just for the family and friends.”
Guillen Jr. says he wouldn’t see his family living anywhere aside from the Richmond-San Pablo area.
“We have created friendships with many others and have seen the progress with the city throughout the years that we want to be part of it for a long time with David’s Pastas & Pizzas.”
For more information and to learn about upcoming events and deals, visit David’s Pastas & Pizzas Facebook page here.