Kevin Cornwell is entering his second week of business at his downtown Italian restaurant and wine bar, Cafe Vincero. Here are the lunch, dinner and wine menus - and a first look at the restaurant.
Dining room: Seating felt well-spaced and noise didn't appear to be much of a problem, even at capacity, thanks to a partially wood-wrapped ceiling that functioned as a decent noise buffer. An exposed brick wall flanked one side of the dining room; and another wall was outfitted with mosaic tile strips that flowed seamlessly from ceiling to tabletops. Thought was put into the surfaces, but the restaurant didn't appear fussy. The atmosphere, as well as service, was casual.
On-display kitchen: It took several months to carve a restaurant into a space where none previously existed. Cornwell cut through walls to add venting and kitchen equipment, including a pizza oven. Creating a kitchen in a deep space can be tricky, but Cafe Vincero made the most of the narrow building with an on-display kitchen visible from some of the dining room. I wanted a more direct view of the work tables in the kitchen - to spy on the cooks - but a glass-enclosed wine storage area interrupted that view. Sit at the tiled tables along the wall for the best view.
Coffee: For diners on the go, there's a coffee counter.
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Menu: Pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. I'll have a first-bite report after the first month of operation. See menus below.
Cafe Vincero714 Pacific Ave., Tacoma; 503-969-2734 or facebook.com/CafeVincero