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As one Italian empire folds, another takes its place. The former home of Giorgio's on Hennepin Avenue is now owned by Jonathan Hunt, chef-owner of the Al Vento Italian restaurant in Nokomis, and longtime Al Vento server Amor Hantous. The new spot, Rinata, is a lot like Al Vento: Both dining rooms are dim and romantically lit, right down to the dangling bulbs robed in gauzy fabric that illuminate the golden walls. True, Al Vento's menu focuses on Southern, red-sauce dishes (Rinata's draws from all over Italy) and includes a short list of more expensive meat-based entrees, but the core of both restaurants is the same: stellar, fresh pasta. With a daily changing menu of dishes--everything from standards like spaghetti and meatballs to less-common oxtail agnolotti--all priced less than $15, Rinata's business model looks a lot like that of the always-packed Broders' Pasta Bar. The appetizers, thin-crust pizzas, and desserts are equally good, and with Rinata serving cocktails and full meals until 1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, the neighborhood will have a classier alternative to the typical late-night greasy bar grub and diner food.
If a restaurant fails, why would you replace it with the very same thing? It was a question I couldn't help but ask when I went to Rinata, the new Italian restaurant that took over the former home of Giorgio's on Hennepin Avenue. For years the... More »
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