Davoni's offers variety of homemade Italian food
The restaurant offers pasta, steaks and seafood.
Cooking has always been a part of Davone Mitchell’s life. Mitchell came from a family of chefs, including his mother and aunts, where everyone would make ultimate spreads of food.
“I mean everything,” Mitchell said. “You go there would be five different pies, five different cakes, relish trays, meat trays, barbecue crab, fruit trays, everything.”
We wanted it to provide a high quality product that is homemade, a nice atmosphere, and a place for Jamestown to call their own.
His mother won a food competition through Lawry’s in Los Angeles, where Mitchell is from, and won a lifetime supply of the company’s seasoning with her name on it. Mitchell said his mother is his standard for cooking.
“When I mean one-stop shop, I mean she can bake, she can do any type of cuisine, steaks, seafood, you name it,” he said.
Mitchell eventually joined the Navy, where he went to school and was taken under the wings of a talented chef. In the Navy, he cooked meals for about 400 people three times a day.
With Mitchell’s background and experience in cooking, it’s no surprise that he opened Davoni’s in Jamestown. Mitchell also owns the Depot Family Restaurant.
Mitchell said his passion and love for fine dining plus the need for new restaurants in Jamestown led him to open Davoni’s, an Italian-style restaurant.
“We wanted it to provide a high-quality product that is homemade, a nice atmosphere, and a place for Jamestown to call their own,” he said.
Before Davoni’s opened in 2020, Mitchell researched Italy and its different food. He said the nice, small, intimate place where Davoni’s is located is comparable to what you would see in any bistros or Italian restaurants in Italy.
“They do that so that it makes the exclusiveness of it,” he said. “It helps too, as far as there are so many people that can get in so … it is more exclusive.”
He said many places that serve high-quality food only serve so many customers in one day. He also said the service is better and it does not take many people to run a smaller restaurant.
“It makes it more family oriented with the staff you have,” he said.
Mitchell said the cozy, quiet atmosphere with soft music makes Davoni’s a great place for a date night or to just relax with a glass of wine or specialty cocktail.
Mitchell is a working owner who is at Davoni’s daily preparing and cooking meals. Everything is made from scratch by people who care about the food that is prepared, he said.
He has trained a kitchen manager, who is a chef, and has other chefs in training. He said the chefs have experience making sauces, dressings and other items and know how to cut meat the proper way.
“We show them how to do everything,” he said. “ We are hands on.”
He said having people who are trained properly helps with quality control of the meals. In some restaurants, management and owners leave in the afternoon and that can add to having quality control problems.
“Now the restaurant becomes a whole different restaurant where you are not there,” Mitchell said. “Every plate that comes out you should make sure that it’s good.”
He said Davoni’s is different from anything else in Jamestown and has its own identity.
“It’s not like any other place that is trying to mimic another menu,” he said.
Davoni’s niche is to make everything homemade from sauces such as marinara, alfredo, bolgonese or vodka sauce to having a good variety such as certified Angus beef ribeyes, filets and sirloins, seafood, pasta, meatballs and even the appetizers, and that’s what makes the restaurant unique, Mitchell said.
“We wanted to emphasize on steaks and seafood too because if you actually go to Italy they eat everything,” he said. “It’s not just pasta. A lot of fish, a lot of beef, a lot of aged ham like prosciutto, capicola, all different types of meats. They are masters at aging their meats. Cheese of course. Quality cheeses. We got some of the best cheese that you can get in the world.”
He said the marinara and alfredo sauces are made fresh daily and include fresh herbs, while some are crafted to each order.
The menu is also set up so it could be affordable for everybody, he said. The menu includes pasta dishes that are around $14 to $15 and some go up to $30 when items such as seafood are added.
“We didn’t need to gouge people,” he said. “You don’t have to be greedy.”
If Davoni’s has products on hand and a customer asks for off-menu items, Mitchell said the restaurant is more than willing to cater to the person and make the food how the customer likes it.
He said some best sellers include chicken alfredo pesto tortellini, red shrimp fettuccine, lasagna and pasta milano. He said the Italian flag ravioli is a unique item that is served to the customer and looks like Italy’s flag and includes green pesto, white alfredo and red marinara sauces.
Mitchell said Davoni’s chicken parmesan was voted the best in North Dakota on Eat This, Not That!, an online website for food.
“That is a homemade product that we do ourselves,” he said.
He said Davoni’s has cooked for a couple of senators and a United Nations ambassador, who told Mitchell the restaurant has better lasagna than at the Vatican City in Italy.
Customers include tourists and individuals from Bismarck, Fargo and the surrounding areas of Jamestown.
“They see our reviews and they see our menu, and they want to say, ‘OK, let’s see what this place is all about,’” he said.
Mitchell said challenges include navigating the inflation of food products, which is about 25%, and sometimes finding quality people to work at the restaurant even though the staffing issue is getting better. He said operating the business through the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge as well.
113 1st St. West
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Saturday