Restaurant News & Reviews

Paso Robles has a new Italian restaurant — and Fresno foodies will recognize it

Piazza Del Pane Italian Cafe opened on Pine Street in downtown Paso Robles in January 2019.
Piazza Del Pane Italian Cafe opened on Pine Street in downtown Paso Robles in January 2019.

A new Italian restaurant just moved into a vacant spot in downtown Paso Robles — and it’s one Fresno residents might recognize.

Piazza Del Pane Italian Cafe opened Jan. 10 in the Pine Street building formerly occupied by Villa Creek. The new restaurant, the result of a partnership between David Ferdinandi of Milano Restaurants International, executive chef Marcel Bustos and other business owners, is the third eatery to occupy that location in two years.

Ferdinandi was drawn to “the location more than anything,” he said Wednesday in a phone interview.

“Our Italian theme will (work) well for the downtown area,” he said.

The new restaurant’s menu will be familiar to folks who have dined at one of Fresno’s three Piazza Del Pane locations, Ferdinandi said. Offerings include pizza, pasta, filet mignon, chicken piccata and short rib sangiovese.

Ferdinandi said he and his partners plan to work with local farmers and wineries to expand the menu at the Paso Robles location.

They’re also sprucing up the Pine Street spot, installing wood floors, enclosing the back patio area and adding more TVs. “We want people to be able to bring a lot of families in,” he explained.

“We want to stay focused on what the tourists are looking for and what the locals are looking for,” Ferdinandi said.

Piazza Del Pane’s parent company, Fresno-based restaurant group Milano Restaurants International, operates five main restaurant concepts, including Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria, Me-n-Ed’s Coney Island Grill, Me-n-Ed’s Victory Grill and Blast 825 Pizza.

Blast 825 Taproom, which specializes wood-fired pizzas and craft beers, opened in January 2016 on Higuera Street in downtown San Luis Obispo.

A second Blast 825 location is slated to open in Paso Robles in late February, Ferdinandi said.

The new Piazza Del Pane restaurant is the second eatery to move into the space off Downtown City Park since Villa Creek closed in July 2017 after 19 years in business. On Bar opened in the location in early 2018 but closed just a few months later.

For more information about Piazza Del Pane, which is open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, call 805-507-7019. (A website is in the works, Ferdinandi said.)

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Lindsey Holden writes about housing, North County communities and everything in between for The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. She became a staff writer in 2016 after working for the Rockford Register Star in Illinois. Lindsey is a native Californian raised in the Midwest and earned degrees from DePaul and Northwestern universities.