Tuscany Garden is looking to fill a niche in the Sedalia restaurant market in a space that has seen its share of dining options.
The Italian restaurant, located at 150 S. Limit Ave., opened Monday and has seen a steady stream of customers.
“So far, so good,” said general manager Benny Muriena. “We’re pleased, and the customers are pleased.”
The location previously housed Napoli’s Italian Restaurant, which closed early last year, and before that had been home to Patricia’s and Family Restaurant, among others. Muriena and his staff have devoted scores of hours to renovating the space to fit Tuscany Garden’s needs, including installing all new equipment in the kitchen.
“It’s been very hard, three months of work, seven days a week, every day, 12 hours a day,” he said. “We believe it will pay off.”
The restaurant is owned by Tuscany LLC, which also owns Biggy’s Italian Restaurant in Osage Beach. Tuscany Garden’s staff did their training at Biggy’s, which has been in business for six years.
“Most (of the staff) have good experience; others we will be watching and training,” Muriena said.
All sauces, pasta, soups and bread are made fresh daily on site. And while the lasagna, pastas and salads have received positive reviews from customers so far, one item has dominated the conversation.
“The bread has been mentioned probably 2,000 times since we opened,” Muriena said.
The menu features an array of pasta dishes, pizzas, steaks and seafood. Sandwiches range in price from $7 to $9, while lunch specials run $6 to $8 and entrees from $12 to $19. There are $5 senior citizen specials, as well as 10 percent discounts for seniors and veterans.
The restaurant offers catering, and has a banquet/private dining room that holds 70 people for receptions, Christmas parties and other events.
Muriena said he’s hopeful that being the only Italian casual dining option in town will draw people in, and that his goal is to provide “great food, great service and reasonable prices in a great environment.”
Pam Kettner, of Sedalia, stopped by for a late lunch on Wednesday.
It was her first visit, and she had the baked ziti lunch special and said it was rather good.
She said, “The atmosphere is very nice,” and that the Italian restaurant “is something we didn’t have, and it’s nice to have it.”
“We’ve been working for three months here. It’s up to customers now whether they are going to be with us or not,” Muriena said. “It’s just the beginning, and we are going to face some issues, but so far so good. Customers are leaving very happy.”