Back in early January of 2014, noted developer Churchill & Banks broke ground for a 20,000-square-foot, two-floor, multi-use building at The Centre of Cherry Hill that Johnston Mayor Joseph Polisena said “will further beautify this area and add to our economic development.”
Also back then, Churchill & Banks President Richard F. Bacari II said he planned to bring in a well-known restaurant and professional offices, and that 3,000 square feet had already been leased to Orange Leaf Yogurt.
Tuesday night, Johnston became the home of Osteria Toscana, which will be owned and operated by highly successful restaurateur Luciano Canova, whose famous Wrentham, Mass., location Luciano’s ranks among the finest eateries in New England.
“I’m excited about being in Johnston,” Canova said after the Johnston Town Council voted unanimously to approve the Torre Corp III licensing application. “Thank you very much. We’re hoping to be open for business in September.”
Osteria Toscana, which will become Canova’s ninth restaurant location, will occupy 3,500 square feet of the first floor at The Centre at Cherry Hill (1571 Atwood Ave.) and will have parking for more than 50 cars. The restaurant, he said, will have seating for 101 people and a small meeting room for up to 30 patrons.
Canova also announced that Osteria Toscana will be open for dinner weekdays from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. and weekends until 11 p.m. The menu, he said, will be a nice mix of Northern and Southern Italian dishes.
“This is a historic groundbreaking for Johnston,” Polisena said while congratulating Canova. “We’re thrilled with your plans for Osteria Toscana and wish you the best in this new endeavor.”
Canova – who said “this building fits our restaurant” – further explained that Osteria Toscano will be a “family restaurant with good food at non-expensive prices.”
Osteria Toscana will be open for dinner and feature the same high-quality food people have enjoyed at Canova’s well-known Lincoln location known as Trattoria Romana.
“We want to be busy and fit nicely into this great community,” said Canova, who’ll turn 66 on April 5 and comes from a small farm village named Cerve Teri that’s located outside of Rome, Italy. “We want families to come and enjoy good food in a nice setting.”