There is no doubt that San Luis Obispo is a quaint little town full of Italian heritage and wonderful Italian food.
If you are looking for fine Italian dining, it is not hard to find what your looking for with the grand opening of Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica.
Giuseppe’s restaurant moved from the Palazzo in downtown SLO to 949 Monterey street. They also modified the name of the restaurant to better fit the new overarching theme.
I had the opportunity to sit down and speak to the owner’s son, Giuseppe Di Fronzo. I asked him why they chose to switch buildings. “Our old place was nice, but that style isn’t going to be popular forever. We needed a change. We needed to up our game. My father has always dreamed of having this building, and finally he has achieved that dream”, he said.
Giuseppe told me the happy and charming aura that the building has always had historically, is a major attraction. He is extremely proud of the high white ceilings, family portraits, beautiful chandeliers and the cast iron ceilings, which to my surprise turns out to be one of nine cast iron ceilings that are still in place.
“It is incredibly open and airy. This is what happens when modern meets classic”, he added.
Due to the switch of buildings, one could inevitably expect a switch in crowd, but Giuseppe told me that they gets a lot of the regular people with a few new ones here and there, but mostly he just notices, ” A crowd. A big one.”
Along with the building change, the menu has changed a bit as well. They have added many new and more traditional items to the menu. Giuseppe’s father also now has his dream of having his own pasta maker in house. He describes the pasta being cooked to perfection by al dente, the perfect firmness. “It is a major change for our menu. It is real authentic Italian noodles. It has become another major attraction at our new location”, he told me.
The menu is relatively inexpensive and if you are not familiar with Italian cuisine, helpful descriptions and tips are embedded in the menu to help you navigate. Giuseppe’s Cucina Rustica also has numerous vegetarian options and if you have small children, ordering an authentic cheese pizza or butter pasta is always a big hit.
One of the new items is called the, “Mama’s salad”. It consists of arugula, cucumber, tomato, iceberg and endives. “It just looks something my grandma used to fix up at home. Simple and tasteful.” He mentioned. Giuseppe gave me this salad when I left and it was incredibly flavorful and fresh.
Another popular new menu item is on the Antipasti list, called the “Mediterranean Octopus ‘alla Barese'” Giuseppe is rather proud about the popularity of the dish. “I feel like a couple years ago this dish would not have sold, but now people love it and it is extremely popular. It is one of those dishes that really brings me home.”
Giuseppe also stated that since they now have this new location up and running they can now work on fixing the burned down restaurant in Pismo.
If you are in need of having a fine Italian dinner, do not hesitate to check of Giuseppe’s menu and head to their new and improved location downtown.