Giardini Trattoria reopens for spring with new hours and menu in Columbus
Published 2:58 pm Friday, February 26, 2016
Fans of Italian cuisine in Columbus will be happy to know Giardini Trattoria, located off NC 108 towards Mill Spring, has reopened for business this year.
Owner Joe Laudisio reopened his restaurant on Feb. 11 after a winter hiatus and has brought a new menu and new hours of operation to the table.
“We’re going to start out with Thursday, Friday and Saturday dinner only from 5 to 9,” Laudisio explained. “On Sundays, we’ll be doing what I call a traditional Italian supper and there will be a specific menu on these days. We will be open from 1 to 7.”
Brunch, which will not be a typical brunch but incorporated with an Italian dinner menu, will also be served.
“It’s not a typical eggs, pancakes and waffles kind of brunch,” Laudisio said. “It’s going to be a full dinner menu featuring some of the items from our regular dinner menu but also some traditional, typical Italian style meals. We’ll do, for example, something I call an old grandma recipe from years ago where you have the sauce going for eight hours and it has fresh sausage, meatballs, Braciole and spare ribs.”
These meats will be paired up with pasta of some sort, like spaghetti, linguini or rigatoni, according to Laudisio.
The dishes will come in the “family style” tradition to the table where a platter of the entrée will be served and can feed one, two, four, six or eight people and will be priced accordingly depending on the size of the party.
“This will add a little dimension to the menu and we’ll also come up with weekly specials that will revolve around the same theme,” Laudisio said. “It could be chicken cacciatori, Italian meatloaf, Braciole, pork loin or anything that is in tune with an Italian Sunday supper. This will start on February 21.”
The new menu is online, according to Laudisio, for the community’s perusal and viewing.
“It’s kind of in rhythm with what the seasons dictate,” Laudisio explained about the new menu. “The things that we have taken off of our fall and late winter menu have been eliminated and we’ve added more proteins that would be accompanied with root vegetables of this season, such as butternut squash, kale, parsnips or turnips. All of our entrees are featured with a starch and a vegetable.”
The restaurant typically does a menu change to go along with the seasons a few times a year, one for the spring and summer and one for the fall and winter, and the menus are based on what Laudisio and his wife are growing in their garden on the property.
“We were closed down to work on the menu and take a little break,” Laudisio said. “It was the first time we’ve been able to do that in the 10 years we’ve been here and winter typically in this area is, I don’t like the term slow, but it’s not productive. It was nice for the staff and we’ve come back with renewed energy, vigor and excitement.”
Laudisio and his wife Mary currently have the restaurant and land it sits up for sale. The property was put on the market in September and Laudisio took it off the market during the hiatus before putting it back on in January.
“We’re not anxious at all, and we still enjoy very much what we do,” Laudisio said. “We enjoy the customers and the camaraderie that we have built over the years and the reputation through the years. It is officially out there, but we’re not anxious nor are we desperate. We’re not saying, ‘Hurry up, we’re looking to get out of here.’”
Despite looking forward to retirement at age 75 after being in the restaurant business for 20 years, Laudisio said he would be willing to help the new owner part time in the front of the restaurant or by creating the menu during each season change.
“It’s not that the business is floundering or is in bad shape,” Laudisio explained. “To the contrary, the business is thriving quite nicely. It will be nice to make that transition from chef and owner to retired. The new owner may want me to work here and not have the responsibilities of owning it.”
The wish, according to Laudisio, is that whoever takes over the business can carry on the Italian cuisine tradition.
“It’s what our customers have known and enjoy, and the uniqueness of it is why they come back,” Laudisio said. “We’re looking for the right clientele and the right chef who respects what we’ve done and what we’ve built and I would like to carry on that tradition.”
To make a reservation at Giardini Trattoria, call 828-894-0234.