Ruston diners, prepare yourselves for bolognese, gnocchi, lasagna and a braised shank dish difficult to find locally, osso buco.
Lovino Ristorante Italiano opened Tuesday. The new Italian restaurant plans to serve lunch and dinner, but hours might be limited during opening week.
It is the project of first time restaurant owners Jeff and Laura Macaluso and longtime chef Michele Lovino.
To be clear, Lovino is opening in actual Ruston, not the nearby Point Ruston retail-residential project that has spawned more than a half dozen restaurants in just a few years at the border of Tacoma and Ruston.
Lovino will operate next door to Coles Bar & Grill. Across the intersection is the Antique Sandwich Company.
Laura Macaluso described a minor facelift that changed the footprint slightly from its former life as a tap and grill. The same bench seating anchors one side of the dining room that seats about 50. A small bar holds about 20 with four tables and room at the bar for five.
The decor is “warm, inviting and casual, but with an upscale feel,” said Laura.
Jeff Macaluso and Michele Lovino bonded over their shared Italian heritage when they met at a local charitable organization. That’s where the idea for the restaurant started. Jeff Macaluso has never run a restaurant before but does own a shipping-container business in Tacoma.
Macaluso’s father’s family is from Sicily and Lovino is from Calabria.
The menu will be peppered with dishes spanning a broad Italian approach. In addition to osso buco, bolognese, gnocchi and lasagna, the opening menu lists eggplant parmesan, pesto dishes and chicken picatta. The restaurant also serves pizza and appetizers, including an octopus carpaccio that Laura Macaluso said was a hit at the restaurant’s preview opening for invited guests over the weekend.
The lunch menu will be a scaled back version with smaller portions. Expect the dinner menu to cover broad territory and pricing with most entrees topping out at $20, although the osso buco crosses the $30 threshold.
The wine list favors Italian wines with service by the glass or bottle. A few Washington wines are offered, but more will be added, said Laura. The restaurant also serves beer and cocktails.
Lovino Ristorante Italiano
Where: 5101 N. Pearl St., Ruston
Info: 253-267-1340 or lovino.business.site
Hours: 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. 5-9 p.m. Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Closed Mondays.