Even before Sunday’s official ribbon cutting, many Johnstonians were abuzz about Osteria Toscana, the town’s newest eatery that’s located at 1571 Atwood Ave. in the still-growing Centre at Cherry Hill.
After owner and famed restaurateur Luciano Canova treated area business owners, town officials and special guests to a sampling of the many different dishes at Osteria Toscana on Sunday, there were more rave reviews about the Italian restaurant.
Canova’s neighbor David Levesque – who owns and operates Brewed Awakenings in the same plaza – was as amazed with the inner furnishings at as he was with the food.
Levesque, who also has four other Brewed Awakenings in Rhode Island, offered: “It’s one thing to have a beautiful restaurant, but if you don’t have good food and service … well, you know the drill.”
But Osteria Toscana, which is Canova’s ninth Italian eatery in and around Southeastern New England, has, as people like Levesque said time and again Sunday, “everything to become a destination spot.”
Prior to Sunday’s ribbon cutting – which featured a red ribbon with an Italian-colored bow in the middle that was made especially for the event by John Dick of Atwood Florists – people were impressed with the restaurant’s warm, cherry wood interior, which also features five hand-painted murals, a 28-foot, two-inch-thick marble-top bar, a granite foot rest and stone tiles that Canova had imported to Johnston from his native Italy.
Each and every one of the 120 seats – including 18 at the marble-top bar – were filled during Sunday’s “Welcome to Osteria Toscana,” which Canova and his business partner Scott Sisson hosted.
“You’d never know this is like a test run. The young men and women servers are first class,” Doug Jeffrey, who is Mayor Joseph Polisena’s chief of staff.
During the earlier portion of Sunday’s gathering, which featured music by noted area entertainer Steve Burke, Polisena delivered a warm welcome in form of an official commendation and presented Canova with a key to the town.
“Please accept our heartfelt well wishes for success and prosperity now and in the years to come,” the mayor said.