Pavel Skorpil is a European chef with a passion for Northern Italian art cuisine. Pavel - or as many call him, "Chef" - opened Da Vinci in 2009 in Hopkinsville, KY with his financée Alexandra.
“We were taught recipes and techniques that have been passed down for generation after generation in northern Italy. And the way they taught us involved rotating one week in the classroom, and the next week we worked hands-on in a real kitchen.”
His training shines through his high personal standards for the quality he provides, with features such as an Italian Brick Oven, where he prepares his Pizzas and Calzones from dough made fresh every day.
Pavel moved to the United States in 1999, without knowing anyone. He began working in a restaurant washing dishes in Florida to get his foot in the door at a restaurant.
After time, he was able to work his way up to become a chef. Eventually he moved to Atlanta to work for another restaurant, which eventually shut down. And so he ended up in Clarksville, where he fell in love with Alexa.
Working for other restaurants was difficult for Pavel, who loves to provide guests nothing but the best.
And so in 2009, his sweetheart Alexa convinced him to start out on his own, cooking the food he wanted to cook with the quality he expects of himself.
Pavel opened Da VInci Little Italian Restaurant on November 13, 2009 with his fiancée Alexandra. This was a lucky day of the month to him, as he and Alexa welcomed their son into this world on January 13 earlier that year.
At the time, Pavel had only one employee and six tables, with seating for 30 people.
It isn’t quite clear who was taken more by surprise by the success of this new restaurant – "Chef" or Hopkinsville.
“It was amazing. Absolutely amazing. Every day for the first two months, there was a line out the door.”
In March 2010, Alexandra was diagnosed with MS, and she could no longer work managing the restaurant.
After facing many challenges, Da Vinci Little Italian Restaurant continued to grow, thanks to the people of Hopkinsville.
After almost a year and a half, "Chef" moved just down the road to a bigger building just, so that he could finally be able to serve wine with his food.
“Italian food is meant to be experienced with wine. But we weren’t able to serve wine where we were located. So I had to fix that.”
So "Chef" is now able to provide not only traditional Italian cuisine, but he is able to do it the right way – with handpicked wines by the glass or bottle that can be paired with an entrée to provide the best dining experience.
"Chef" and everyone at Da Vinci Little Italian Restaurant have been grateful for the home they have found in Hopkinsville. The number of satisfied, repeat guests has been overwhelmingly supportive, and each guest has become a part of the success story.
Presently, Da Vinci has 18 employees.
Da Vinci has begun to attract attention outside Hopkinsville, luring patrons from Tennessee and travelers from across the United States.
"I feel like I really am living the American dream, and it is an absolutely amazing feeling to open a business in America."
The story of Pavel Skorpil's Da Vinci Little Italian Restaurant is one of hard work, dedication and a dream come true. And on behalf of Pavel and all of the staff at Da Vinci, we thank all of our guests who have helped make this dream a reality.