Owner, Wine Director
Born and raised in Florence Italy, Villani earned his sommelier diploma and worked several years at the Michelangelo designed Villa San Michele in the hills of Fiesole outside Florence. He was “discovered” by Mark Pastore who had recently opened Incanto and offered him the position of manager and wine director where he earned many accolades for his wine list and service. He was then opening wine director at Bartolotta in Las Vegas followed by stints as sommelier at Quince and wine director at Perbacco before opening InoVino. His passionate and deep knowledge of Italian wines is paired with a warm, ebullient style as he enthusiastically shares his special discoveries with guests.
A California native who spent a great deal of his childhood in the kitchen of in his parents’ Napa Valley catering company, Kelly graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 2006 and began a four-year stint at Martini House, two as sous chef. From 2011 to 2014 he was chef de cuisine at Barbacco, before departing for Italy. There, he did stages at five restaurants from north to south. Upon his return, he spent a year as sous chef at Perbacco, and he joined Villani at Inovino in 2017. Through his many experiences with Italian food, Kelly’s approach mirrors the best of contemporary Italian cooking. For example, drawing on the careful handmade pasta techniques he learned and perfected from childhood onward, Kelly offers dishes like mushroom-radicchio filled piramide, lemon taglierini and farro campanelle. A no-waste attitude employed in Kelly’s kitchen, uses vegetal odds and ends for vinegars and shrubs and fish and animal scraps for pate, sauce bases and garum. Similarly, next day bread, much of which is made at the restaurant itself, is used in crostini and ribollita, the much loved, rustic Tuscan soup.