Hopkinsville restaurant provides old-world, fine dining experience
When the restaurant opened in May 2017, the focus was on steak. It joined with an Italian restaurant the following year to become Davinci at Novadell—which is the neighborhood they are located in—offering steak, pasta and spirits. Davinci at Novadell offers a full line of steaks and Italian favorites, as well as seafood, burgers, pork chops and salads.
The restaurant is owned by David Barbee and Randy Arnold.
Manager Ashley Loden says, “When the golf course closed in the Novadell area, Randy bought the farmland, which included the building. David, an investor in Harper’s House in Cadiz, decided he wanted to open another restaurant.”
Novadell strives to provide old-world, fine dining and cultivate a strong relationship with its customers. “Mr. Barbee goes to every table every night when he’s in town to talk to the guests,” says Loden.
Executive Chef Taylor Cornelius’ first job at 16 was a busboy at Harper House restaurant, when it was in downtown Hopkinsville. “I worked there for two years on and off through college, then after two years of college, I decided I’d rather go to culinary school,” he says. He attended the Arizona Culinary Institute in Scottsdale, then worked at the Wrigley Mansion, Phoenix, a fine dining restaurant, for two or three years in various positions. From there he worked at Talking Rock Golf Course, Prescott, Arizona—a place similar to Novadell with its golf course, neighborhood and a fine dining experience.
He moved back home and began working at Novadell. “I came in as the kitchen manager, then the lead line cook, and with staff changes, I found myself taking on more and more responsibility,” he says, before becoming the executive chef.
Pasta, steak and more
Cornelius says the Italian steakhouse menu is fairly split. “Pasta selections cover everything from chicken parm and eggplant parm to pasta meatball and lasagna—all the traditional Italian dishes. We have seafood options as well, such as frutti di mare and pasta Toscana. The bang shrimp appetizer is a top seller. People say they can’t live without it.” Novadell routinely offers seafood specials and different cuts of fish.
There’s also a wide range of steaks. Cornelius says the filet is by far the customer favorite and biggest seller. They also offer a porterhouse, New York strip and two ribeyes, a bone-in and bone-out.
Novadell has bone-in pork chops, a hamburger steak and burger. “We have both high and low-cost options and we try to price it so we have approachable options for all,” he adds.
The restaurant also offers one special during the week, and another special on the weekend. Ashley says, “We will make a suggestion, Taylor will do the research, try it out and he ultimately comes up with the selling dish. He’s very good at executing our ideas. He’ll come up with something far greater than what we suggested.”
Loden says customers comment on how large the serving sizes are; many people take a box home.
The restaurant provides a wide range of bourbon, wine and spirits. Loden says they offer a full range of drink specials. “We have 12 types of margaritas and a huge cocktail menu. We run a lot of cocktail drink specials on the weekend.” There’s an extensive bourbon selection as well, with 15-20 options, and many are on the higher end she says.
Cornelius says, “We have a whole lot of regulars who come every week. About 70% are return customers and 30% are new. A lot of people will drive from Clarksville, Tennessee—military who come—and Madisonville, Kentucky.”
The restaurant, served by Pennyrile Electric, employs 13–16. Loden says, “We’re the process of trying to build up the team to cater and have big banquet parties upstairs. We can seat 250 total in our restaurant, counting the upstairs, which is currently not in use.”
Davinci at Novadell has been voted “Pennyrile’s Best” All Around Restaurant, Steak House and Wine Selection several years by Q108 radio (WCVQ 107.9).
Davinci at Novadell is at 500 Novadell Way, Hopkinsville and is open 4:30–9 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. Reservations are highly recommended.