February 28, 2017 – Fans of David Baron’s exquisite menus at Casanova in Carmel better hurry on in this week. The exec chef has taken a new job heading the soon-to-open Saltwood Restaurant at the Sanctuary Beach Resort in Marina and will leave Casanova early next week.
“I wouldn’t leave Casanova for a small venture, I’ve always wanted to have a California beach destination restaurant,” he says.
Baron—who recently bought a home in East Garrison and whose wife is expecting their third child within weeks—says he’s excited about the short commute and about working for Hersha Hospitality Management, owners of the resort.
“We’re trying to help revitalize the community of Marina, where there is never anywhere to go out,” he adds.
Saltwood will be in the same space once occupied by AJ Spurs and Kula Ranch Island Steakhouse and is currently undergoing a complete renovation.
“The restaurant will have all-local sourcing and lots of seafood and grilled items like oysters and langostines,” says Baron, adding that big Saturday and Sunday brunches with bottomless mimosas are also in the works.
It will have about 80 seats, with a heated oceanfront patio and two 140-seat banquet rooms—perfect for hosting beach weddings.
Saltwood is expected to open this summer. In the meantime, Baron will be working on the new menu and traveling to visit the corporate headquarters in Philadelphia, as well as some of HHM’s other hotel properties.
The San Francisco native has been at Casanova since March 2014 and also supervised the kitchen at the Corkscrew Café in Carmel Valley. His sous chefs—Brian Smith at Casanova and Christopher Watts at Corkscrew—will replace him.
Baron is a close friend of Klaus Georis, son of Casanova and Corkscrew owner Walter Georis, and he says the departure has been amicable, “It’s a bittersweet thing, we have a really good family relationship and I can’t wait to be able to come back to Casanova as a customer, as a regular person, because it’s the best place to eat in Carmel.”
The chef has been an avid supporter of MEarth environmental education program in Carmel and says he plans to continue volunteering there, as well as bringing some of the things he learned in the MEarth garden to schoolchildren in Marina.
“This is a new chapter in my life, all across the board,” he says.