New Leaf turns over New Leaf on June 19

­From Sa­ra at New Leaf/Outlook Inn

In the course of one season, it seems our world has changed in very big ways. And, so has New Leaf Café at Outlook Inn.

We are excited to announce that we have hired Chef Mario Granata as our New Leaf Cafe Executive Chef to replace Chef Steve Debaste. We are so grateful for all the years we had with Chef Steve and wish him luck with his new endeavor with Buck Bay Shellfish Farm.

Chef Granata and his wife, Yumi Tsujino, were visiting island friends Alexandria Romero and The Gaileys in February when we were conducting final interviews for a chef. Chef Granata stepped in last minute to cook a sample dinner of his rustic Forest Salad, made with Maitake and Oyster mushrooms sautéed with crispy bacon and served with field greens tossed in a garlic-infused olive oil, a grilled Halibut Lemon Piccata, and pan-seared scallops with a wasabi cream sauce. And, our entire family loved every dish. You can now try those items on our new menu being introduced June 19th when we open our doors to dining-in again.

Chef Granata describes his cooking as rustic cuisine with a Pacific Northwest flair and he hails from the small community of Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, where, as a young child, he was obsessed with cooking and loved helping his mother in her kitchen. His signature dishes, Lasagna and Bolognese (you may see them as specials one day), and a few of the items you’ll see on the regular New Leaf menu are from traditional family recipes. In 2008, he moved to Los Angeles where he worked at Ristorante & Pizzeria Café Med on Sunset in West Hollywood, training directly under the head chef. After meeting his wife, Yumi, he moved to San Diego where she was living and worked as a chef at the Asian fusion restaurant Tomiko Bar & Grill. Eventually, they moved to Japan and opened their own Italian Wine bar, Enoteca 8, and Pizzeria 8 in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi, Japan, but, alas, they missed the U.S. and decided to return. We’re also excited that Yumi is a certified sommelier in Italian wines and in Japan her father is famous for his preparation of the Japanese delicacy Fugu, or poisonous blowfish.

Chef Granata is looking forward to adding more kitchen crew immediately and our entire team is dedicated to maintaining an inviting space to reflect the ideals we love most about this beautiful island we live on. While we were always fanatical about cleanliness and creating a healthy environment, we have incorporated new health and safety standards as required by the county and recommended by the CDC and we are exceeding those precautions out of an abundance of caution because the health of our employees (they’re family to us) and our customers (they’re beloved by us) is important.

Diners can still order New Leaf items to go on the weekends by visiting For in-dining we are restricted to 50% capacity, so we recommend you make reservations in advance. We hope you’ll stop by for some of your favorite New Leaf dishes and to try some of our new ones.