Grand Boulevard has welcomed a new restaurant to its fold — Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar — a place that is proving to be a destination for locals to meet up.
Located next door to the new Boulevard 10 Cinema and on the main street of the popular Grand Boulevard shopping district, its location could not be more strategically placed.
Jason Justak is the restaurant's operating partner and has only been with the company for three months.
Originally from Indiana, he spent the last five years working at an Italian restaurant in Las Vegas. When he and his wife welcomed a baby girl into their family, they wanted to move somewhere more wholesome and came across the company post about this position at a new restaurant in Destin. They came out in the fall and fell in love with the area.
"This is a great place to raise a child," said Justak. "We are enjoying the community and beaches. We love it. It's beautiful here, even when it rains, it's beautiful. We have met so many nice people. This is a great new beginning for us."
Travinia is a relatively young company started in 2002 and based Greenville, S.C., created by friends who shared a passion for wine and had an idea to open restaurant and pair great food with wine.
Travinia means three vines, said Justak. The restaurant's three vines are food, wine, and friendship.
All dishes are made from scratch and they offer gluten free options.
Following its July 8 soft opening, Justak said the restaurant, which seats 275, is doing wonderful.
"News has spread by word of mouth. We have enjoyed a great start. We have the right staff and people who believe in what we believe in: awesome Italian," he said.
The restaurant's chef is Josh Higgins, who uses local seafood vendors for fresh great flavor.
Open for only about a month, on any given night the coveted bar seats are usually full of locals meeting other locals for a drink and a bite to eat.
The long half-moon shaped bar with three big-screen TVs can seat 20 comfortably inside, and when the temperatures begin to drop, the windows on the bar's south side are opened up to include the outdoor bar, which seats 15.
If you aren't sure which wine you want that is sold only by the bottle, sample upper tier selections such as Silver Oak from the restaurant's Napa Technology wine machine.
Every Tuesday features 25-percent off bottles of wine all day. Wednesday features half-off specialty martinis from 4 - 8 p.m.
While sipping a glass of wine at the bar, if it's only a snack you crave, try the Italian nachos with fried chips, sausage, olives, and peppers.
Menu options are wide, from the classic Italian pasta dishes to pizza, steaks and fish.
Under the "favorites" category, you will find Sinatra Chicken, a dish of grilled chicken breast topped with smoked pancetta, mozzarella and a light semi-sweet Grand Marnier cream sauce with cappellini for $16.
A salad that has proven popular is the Spinach and Goat Cheese salad with lightly fried goat cheese medallions, sliced red onions, diced egg, baby spinach and a warm pancetta dressing for $10.
A favorite among the pasta dishes is the Pasta Mia Nona, with bowtie pasta, grilled chicken, mushrooms and roasted tomatoes tossed in an asiago garlic cream sauce for $16.
On the lunch menu, find sandwiches, soups, salads, and a soup of the day.
The desserts are made in house with tiramisu being the No. 1 seller.
Travinia is open seven days a week: Sundays from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Mondays through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
"We believe we offer something for everyone, including the kids with their own menu," said Justak.
Take out is available by calling 654-4442 or tell the bartender. A Sandestin discount is offered to resident homeowners.