It would be an understatement to say that Edson Coimbra and Marvin Posada understand the restaurant business.
The two long-time high-end restaurant employees – who have cooked and managed such notable places like Mistral and L’Andana, are excited to bring a new, higher-end pizza choice to Williams Street in Chelsea.
Both owners have been toiling for months on Ciao Wood-Fired Pizza and Past, building a brick, wood-fired oven in the former Chinese Food restaurant, but said this week they hope to open in the next two weeks.
“More than anything, we want this to be community focused,” said Coimbra. “I have been patronizing the businesses of Chelsea for 10 years. I know my neighbors. They all see me biking with my kids. I support the businesses here whenever I can. Now, we’re opening our own business and we can get down in dealing with the building issues or contractor problems. What’s encouraging is seeing the tremendous response from everyone. Just when we’re at a tough point with the construction, someone will come in and ask when we’re opening. They tell us they can’t wait for it to open. That makes it all worth it and really pushes us forward. We only have an idea right now. We haven’t opened, but people are already embracing and looking forward to us.”
Coimbra said so many people have gone above and beyond to give them a hand, such as local plumber Jim Dunn of Neecy Mechanical and his crew – who have bent over backward to help the startup get going.
Building owner Roy Avellaneda said he wanted something different in the space, and believes he has found something that will be very successful.
“Edson used to come to my coffee shop years ago and I knew him then,” said Avellaneda. “I think that they should make a bigger brick over, because I think they’ll be for more successful than they think. They have something very different and exciting to bring to the community.”
Posada, who started as a dishwasher at Mistral and worked his way up to being a chef, said they will concentrate on high-quality, wood-fired pizzas in their brand new brick oven and also homemade pastas.
“The main focus is wood-fired pizza and homemade pasta,” he said. “That will be a staple. We’ll have panini’s and salads too. Everything will be done from scratch. It’s a way you present yourself. If I start using things prepared by someone else, I’m not presenting myself. By making everything from scratch, you can control the quality. I know we’ll get a second look in Chelsea. There’s really nothing similar to what we’re planning to do here.”
Both men said, when they worked at the various fine dining restaurants, they often talked about branching out on their own. Coimbra had the management skills and Posada had the cooking skills, but nothing ever came together. After Coimbra left to pursue a banking career for a few years, he realized he wanted to start his own restaurant, and he wanted to do it in Chelsea.
“We got together for coffee one day,” said Coimbra. “It was not a meeting and we had no plans, but we started talking and bouncing ideas off of one another.”
Added Posada, “He told me he knew of a small place in Chelsea that was available and the next thing you know we were looking at the space and then we had a lease. It’s only 500 square feet, but it’s a great place to launch our brand.”
Both learned a great deal in their former roles in food service, and said they have the same vision and passion for what they’re doing as the owners of those restaurants, such as Mistral.
“Mistral has been open since 1997; they must be doing something right,” said Coimbra. “We learned a lot from them. We have that vision. We will put the customer first always and we will really become part of the community.”
Both men also chronicled their start, working their way up from the bottom to gain success.
“We’ve both worked very hard t
o get here,” said Coimbra. “Both of us started form the bottom. We’re using our own funds to do this. It’s more than just a small joint for us. We’re pumped and excited to do this, especially in Chelsea. I live in Chelsea and love the community here and feel very comfortable here.”
Added Posada, “I feel we’re going to be part of the big changes that are already happening here in Chelsea. The opportunity for us is different. I’ve been doing fine dining for 15 years, but the support we’re getting is so overwhelming. We are excited to bring this high-quality food and fine dining experience without the high price.”