The owners of Rino’s Place, the famed Italian restaurant on the corner of Saratoga and Putnam Streets that was recently on the Food Network last year, is days away from opening a new cafe at 300 Saratoga St. across from Rino’s current location.
The café, which will be called Prima e Dopo, Italian for Before and After received its occupancy permit from the city last week and aside from a little fine tuning the highly anticipated addition to Eastie’s food scene should be open in a week or two.
Prima e Dopo will give Rino’s patrons the chance to sit and have a light appetizer or glass of wine until a table opens up at the restaurant across the street. The cafe will also serve deserts and cordials for patrons looking to relax after a filling Rino’s meal.
“We think it’s a great concept,” said Anna DiCenso who owns Rino’s with her husband and celebrity chef, Tony.
DiCenso said the new cafe will be its own separate business from Rino’s but hopes it will compliment the success at the popular restaurant and give people the option to stay in the neighborhood instead of going some place else during the restaurant’s busy hours.
“You can go across the street, have a few appetizers and a drink and then we will call you when your table is ready for dinner,” said DiCenso. “We will still have appetizers and deserts here at Rino’s but this will give our customers, some of whom might have to wait an hour or two for a table on busy nights, an option to begin their evening with some food and drink in a comfortable setting instead of waiting outside.”
In October 2011 Rino’s was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives hosted by T.V. personality, cook and restaurateur Guy Fieri.
The segment showed just how fresh and good Tony DiCenso’s food is. Now everyone knows what we in Eastie have know for 20 years.
DiCenso dazzled Fieri with his homemade lobster raviolis. Fieri was amazed at the complexity and work that it takes for DiCenso to produce the dish.
DiCenso showed how he takes a live lobster, boils it, removed all the meat from the shell, sautés it with oil and shallots, mixes it with fresh imported ricotta, makes the pasta from scratch and then constructs the delicious raviolis. He then showed Fieri how he takes more lobster meat and develops a silky tomato cream sauce to toss with the raviolis.
All Fieri could say after tasting DiCenso’s signature dish was “This is ridiculous!”.
Fieri called DiCenso the ‘real deal’ and was impressed by how DiCenso shops three times a day at local markets to get his meat, fish and produce and said it’s what sets Rino’s apart from the rest.
Fieri also got to sample some of Rino’s signature dishes like frutti di mare, roasted pork tenderloin encrusted with pistachios and topped with a spicy cherry balsamic reduction and the Rino’s special, a mix of chicken, veal and shrimp sauteed in brandy cream and wild mushrooms.
“You taste just how fresh everything is here,” said Fieri. “It really makes the difference.”
There was also a lot of joking around and each time Fieri asked DiCenso where something came from DiCenso’s reply would be “I go out and pick it myself, fresh, it all has to be fresh”. At one point, when DiCenso was adding a bit of salt to a dish, Fieri joked “let me guess, you mine your own salt!”.
Since the airing of the Rino’s segment on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, there has been a line out the door six days a week for lunch and dinner.
The new cafe aims to cater to the people who would otherwise have to wait outside and others who are looking for a light meal.