Toscani's Ristorante marks Joseph Pingue's return to the restaurant business.
The founder of Pingue Properties has opened the Italian restaurant at 1175 Worthington Woods Blvd. in the Worthington area.
He is most certainly pleased about the quality of food.
"Everything served here is from my own recipes -- every detail," said Pingue, a native of Introdacqua, Italy.
"I have a lot of pride in my business," he said.
But things are still improving.
"We're expanding our menu," Pingue said. "We've been add-ing. It's coming along."
Tos-cani's offers many familiar dishes, including chicken and veal parmesan, linguine with white clams, and spaghetti with meatballs. The menu is rounded out with soups, salads and sandwiches. Nothing currently tops $16.95.
The signature dish is spezzatino d'agnello, lamb tips served over orzo tossed in a white sauce with onions, garlic and mushrooms. Pingue said he's adding house-made focaccia and gnocchi this week.
"We want to accommodate our clients," he said. "Whatever they prefer, that's what we'll do."
Toscani's takes over a long-vacant, 6,000-square-foot storefront that seats 100. Pingue said he will reconfigure the space to create private-dining rooms.
Pingue said he's been cooking since he was a child, but in his youth he turned his attention toward the construction business.
In the mid-1970s, however, he and brother Mario owned Roman Court in Niagara Falls. That 20,000-square-foot restaurant, which had a banquet hall that could hold up to 600 people, was in business for about 10 years.
"What an adventure," Pingue said.
Toscani's is open for lunch weekdays, dinner Monday through Saturday, and closed Sunday. For more information, call 614-846-8040.
O'Nelly's Sports Pub & Grill will take over the former Polaris Street Tavern and an adjacent storefront.
The owners are first-time restaurateurs Joe and Tia Stropkai.
The pub, which is expected to open in the beginning of May, takes its name from famed sportscaster Keith Jackson's popular phrase, "Whoa, Nellie."
It will occupy 4,000 square feet of space at 8939 South Old State Road, in a shopping center on the northeast corner of South Old State and Polaris Parkway.
Mr. Stropkai said the place will have sports-oriented programming, up to 16 beers on tap and a better-than-average bar menu.
"I want good-quality food, unique items," he said.