NOW OPEN. 2025 Pacific Ave, Venice, CA 90291. Tel. 424-443-5007 Hours: Monday-Wednesday 5:30PM-9:15PM, Thursday-Saturday 5PM-9:15PM, Sunday 5PM-9:15PM. contact Us
Ospi is the sophomore restaurant of Jackson Kalb & Melissa Saka, focused on Southern Italian cooking and way of life. The name derives from ospitante (“host” in Italian), with the expectation that guests will feel as comfortable at Ospi as they would at a friend’s dinner party.
There are plenty of house-made pastas as well as an expanded offering of pizzas. The beverage program crafted by Kalb features mostly Californian and Southern Italian wines and a full bar with a special negroni section.
At Ospi, the pizza is inspired by the techniques of Antico Forno Roscioli which Kalb and Saka frequented while visiting Rome. Focusing on romana tonda-style crusts that are cracker-thin, he is adapting a recipe that he feels will resonate with the LA diner. Jackson feels it extremely important to not take food too seriously. His favorite pizza on the menu is inspired by Melissa’s go-to custom pizza at Fresh Brothers – a tomato pie with pepperoni, pineapple, and jalapeno. Kalb’s version, the “Hapa”, is topped with slow-smoked pepperoni macinati, slow-roasted pineapple, raw and pickled jalapeno.
The menu also features a section devoted to fett’unta, thick slices of toasted country bread glossed with olive oil. Toppings will range from a simple touch of garlic to chilled lobster with stracciatella, chili, lemon zest and watermelon radish.
Located on a prominent corner near the Venice boardwalk, Ospi takes up residence in the former iconic Canal Club space. With a complete overhaul, the space is bright and airy with touches of stone and wood throughout, and has absolutely zero trendy plant walls! The restaurant is set up to be a true neighborhood destination and a lure for those visiting the city’s most prominent beachside town.
General Manager: Jimmy Ornelas
Executive Sous Chef: Santos Navarro
Owners: Jackson Kalb & Melissa Saka
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Jackson Kalb developed an early zeal for cooking after being housebound with an illness. Thirsty for knowledge, he obsessed over Food Network chefs like Emeril, Sarah Moulton, and Ming Tsai. By age 12, he gathered the courage to establish his own catering company, tacking $20 onto the cost of food for events.
In 2003, a catering “client” introduced Jackson to chef Josiah Citrin of Melisse Restaurant/Citrin. Jackson spent the next six years at Melisse with Josiah as his mentor, during which Melisse earned two Michelin stars. Before graduating high school, Josiah sent Jackson to spend a summer at 3 michelin star Joel Robouchon in Las Vegas.
In 2009, Jackson opted out of culinary school and attended Cornell to study hotel administration. During college, he spent a summer under three Michelin star chef Grant Achatz at Alinea in Chicago, as well as Union Square Café in New York City. After graduating, Jackson accepted a management offer with Hillstone restaurant group where he met Melissa Saka.
After Hillstone, Jackson ran Factory Kitchen as Chef de Cuisine while the owners opened Brera.
It was also 2003 that Melissa began her restaurant career as a hostess to during college. She spent the next 14 years in restaurants, most notably 8 years with Hillstone. The two opened Jame Enoteca in June of 2018, earning such accolades as “Los Angeles’ Best New Restaurants of 2018” from Infatuation, “The Top Los Angeles Restaurant Newcomers of 2018” from Eater, and “The 15 Best New Los Angeles Restaurants of 2018” from Time Out.