QUARTZ HILL — Ever wonder what happens when someone forgets the scissors at a ribbon cutting?
The Raven’s Nest founder Kathryn Graffeo improvised and used her sister’s brand new chef’s knife to slice the ribbon Tuesday afternoon, representing the restaurant’s opening on 60th Street West in Quartz Hill.
“It is a piece of me in here,” Graffeo said. She was inspired by the Gothic architecture to create a dark and castle-like space that welcomes guests to bring their loved ones out for date night or the family out to eat.
For Graffeo, the raven represents life-bringing change in consciousness, self-knowledge and introspection. The Antelope Valley also happens to be full of them.
She is the oldest of her siblings, including Lenny Graffeo, who also played an instrumental part in the start-up restaurant and Amalia Graffeo, the executive chef. The siblings’ father, Leonard Graffeo Sr., brought Fresco II to the Antelope Valley Mall in Palmdale in the early 2000s.
“I’ve been in the business since I was 12 years old,” Kathryn Graffeo said. “I wanted to create my own space that makes it feel as if you’re not in the AV with the natural food and the unique decorations.”
This is her third restaurant opening, but Kathryn Graffeo holds the Raven’s Nest near and dear to her heart as the first restaurant she’s built completely from the ground up. She purchased the building when it only had cement in it. The whole process took about eight months.
The Raven’s Nest features modern fusion foods with classic menu selections from pizza and pasta to foods with Greek and Mediterranean flair. It also accommodates vegans and vegetarians. All cocktails have botanical and fresh ingredients and herbs.
“Nothing is artificial,” Kathryn Graffeo said.
The wine is also hand-picked. She says you can’t get it anywhere else. In addition, the restaurant offers kombucha and has 20 beers on tap.
“When my parents asked if I wanted to do a restaurant, I told them I’d only do it my way,” Kathryn Graffeo said. “I want to make it a place everyone wants to go.”
The restaurant offers a variety of cuisine, including salads, ribeye steak and seafood.
“We are innovating the way the Antelope Valley sees food,” Lenny Graffeo said.
On Valentine’s Day, the Raven’s Nest had its soft opening and received good feedback from the community, according to Kathryn Graffeo.
“It’s pretty cool knowing how much support I’ve gotten with everyone watching the process,” she said.
Born and raised in the Antelope Valley, Kathryn Graffeo emphasized that the restaurant is locally and family-owned.
As of now, it’s only open in the evenings for dinner, but will eventually open for brunch, as well.
“We want to constantly surprise our customers,” Head Chef Amalia Graffeo said. “It will transport you to different places across the world.”
The restaurant prides itself on professionalism, she said.
Amalia Graffeo also said their cocktails, with edible glitter, dehydrated fruit and pickled vegetables, can’t be found anywhere else.
“There’s a freedom to do whatever we want and it’s going to be great,” Amalia Graffeo said.
With over 20 years of experience in the restaurant business, Leonard Graffeo Sr. is proud of his childrens’ accomplishments and excited for the direction the restaurant is heading.
“I back my kids up in whatever they do,” he said.
The Raven’s Nest has already gained a following, based on the number of people who showed up for the Tuesday ribbon cutting. Among the guests were Barbara and Archie Moore, who got engaged in one of the family’s restaurants in 2003.
“We’ve been anticipating this for a long time,” Barbara Moore said.
The Raven’s Nest is located at 42458 60th Street West and is open from 5-9 p.m., weekdays and from 5-11 p.m., weekends.