New owners will put restaurant in old Fiona’s |

New owners will put restaurant in old Fiona’s

by Kurt Hildebrand

A pair of chefs have purchased the old Fiona’s building and plan to establish a new restaurant.

John and Faith Saletti have been in the Valley a year while they sought a new location to replace their restaurant in Lompoc, Calif.

John Saletti is the chef and Faith is a pastry chef. The property closed escrow on Wednesday and they hope to open Saletti’s Restaurant and Bar in September.

“We’ve been looking for a place for the last year,” Faith said. “We looked in Carson City and at a property off of Mica, at Home Depot. This opportunity came up and we decided to go for it.”

The couple sold the Saletti’s in Lompoc on Dec. 1, 2005 to one of their employees.

They plan to start out with dinner and see how that goes before expanding their hours.

“Everything we do is homemade,” Faith said. “We have fresh soups and angus beef and cioppino. Wild game was a huge seller at our restaurant.”

The building, which closed as Fiona’s last spring, is in good shape, Faith said. The famous Fiona’s fish have been removed from the building and are safely in a koi pond belonging to a Carson Valley Inn manager.

“We are going to bring in a lot more booths and set up a private room where the koi pond was.”

Removing the pond will give the restaurant at 30 seat room that can be booked for parties.

John grew up in Santa Barbara and the couple used to live in Tahoe City.

“We chose to live her because of how close it is to Tahoe,” Faith said. “It doesn’t get as much snow here and we can choose to go to Tahoe or not. We love the Valley and we have a daughter going to a great school.”

The couple’s daughter, Johnnie, is in the fourth grade at Pinon Hills Elementary School.

Faith said the couple are taking their effort at the restaurant seriously.

“John and I are really hands on,” she said. “We’ll be in the restaurant all the time. When people meet us, they’ll know we are serious about it. It’s what we do best. We like to bring a really good product to the table.”

John has had a chance to look at the market serving as manager of Michael’s and Fiona’s and later managed the new Fiona’s inside the Carson Valley Inn.

She said they like to keep their staff as happy as their customers.

“We always had very little turnover because we treated the staff well,” she said. “We treated them the way we want to be treated.”

Bill Henderson, Carson Valley Inn director of sales and marketing, said the casino was supportive of the Salettis.

“We enjoyed a great relationship with John at both Michael’s and the old Fiona’s,” he said. “We support John in this effort and we’re excited to have another dining option within walking distance of the Carson Valley Inn.”