Renovations to the dining room and private room are nearly complete at the soon to open Luca Ristorante on Highland Avenue. The faux finishes on the walls and ceilings in the dining areas are complete and lighting, draperies and furnishings have been updated.
Busy with last minute details on Wednesday, owner Dino Ricciardone said he'll open to the public on Tuesday with a "soft opening" for family and friends this weekend.
Ricciardone's liquor permit was approved Wednesday morning, he said, and a beverage vendor was busy filling out the restaurant's first order.
In an earlier interview with Cheshire Patch, Ricciardone said he nearly opened his new restaurant in East Windsor rather than Cheshire. It was a chance glimpse of the "for sale" sign at the former Brix restaurant that caused him to change direction. The fact that he lives in nearby Wolcott sealed the deal.
A veteran restaurateur, Ricciardone said he's not concerned the economy will affect his business. "I'll be successful, no problem. People know me, they say 'we miss you,'" he said.
After buying the property on March 1 for $715,000, Ricciardone began redecorating the 5,000-square foot building.
The rustic entryway and bar will remain the same, Ricciardone said, but the dining room and other areas were redecorated and painted. Stella Malota of Bolton applied faux finishes to imitate Venitian marble, stone and metal textures in the dining areas.
The dining room seats 65, Ricciardone said, with a private room holding 40 diners and additional space for about 30 in the bar area. He plans to hire about 30 people for a variety of jobs.
The menu will offer Italian food, seafood, steak, veal and chicken, Ricciardone said. He hopes to have a lobster tank on display like he had at the former Giovanni's Restaurant on Main Street in Southington that he opened in 1972.
Through the years, Ricciardone has owned a number of other well-known establishments; Alessandro's on West Street in Southington that is now Cava restaurant, and McLadden's Irish Publick House in West Hartford in which he sold his interest last year.
Luca will have a full liquor license and be open for lunch and dinner six days a week, Tuesday - Sunday, Ricciardone said. Lunch items will cost from $8 to $10 while dinner entrees will range from $14 to $40 for a rack of lamb, he said.
Ricciardone plans to stay open late, perhaps until 11 p.m., he said, and offer a late-night menu and eventually a Sunday brunch.