A new restaurant that describes its cuisine in part as “a splash of Italy” aims to open in early May at 28 Water Street on Greenwich Cove, in the building that was occupied by Hemenways Restaurant until January.
Nautika Restaurant and Bar will be operated by the husband-and-wife team of Mario and Cheryl Micheletti, with Mario serving as head chef. The Michelettis owned and operated in Barrington for many years until selling recently.
The new restaurant’s Facebook page described Nautika as offering “fresh flavors of summer and sea, with a splash of Italy. Cocktails, dancing, live music and entertainment.”
The restaurant will be open seasonally, from May to September, said Cheryl Micheletti.
For the past couple of weeks, work crews have been busy at the building, located between and . Hemenways Restaurant occupied the building from June 2010 to January 2011. Table 28, also a restaurant, occupied the building for some years before that.
In recent days, a “Nautika” sign in a sleek, modernistic font was positioned on the side of the building and notices on the doors urge job applicants to contact Mario Micheletti. Job openings for cooks, wait staff and others also are posted on several hospitality job websites.
Frank McCarthy, general manager of Harbourside, said last Friday he was not familiar with Nautika’s new owners, but he welcomed the restaurant to the neighborhood. He noted that Nautika will be presenting a different type of cuisine from Harborside’s and said, “it’s better than having an empty building there.”
Regrettably, McCarthy said, the Greenwich Cove waterfront is very much a warm-weather dining spot. He said he believed Hemenways, operated by the Newport Restaurant Group, was intended to stay open year-round, but that management did not sufficiently anticipate the falloff of business in the winter. Of the string of establishments in that part of the waterfront, only the Warehouse Tavern (part of Twenty Water Street) stays open year-round. In recent years, McCarthy said, Harbourside has been closing from January to March.
“In winter, Goddard Park (viewed from Water Street) is beautiful; the ice on the water is beautiful," McCarthy said. "But when there is cold and snow, people in Rhode Island don’t want to go near the water. And up on Main Street there are tons of good restaurants that do well in the winter.”
In contrast, he said, the first warm day in April, customers were calling him to ask if Harbourside’s deck seating was open yet.