It’s a couple of hours before opening night at the new Azzurro Italian Oven and Bar in Rehoboth, and owner Tonya Agostino is busy making sure supplies for the drink menu are ready to go.
“This is something we’ve wanted to do forever,” an excited Agostino said. “It’s full speed ahead now.”
Located at the corner of Second Street and Wilmington Avenue, Azzurro opened May 9, the creation of Fran and Tonya Agostino, a husband-and-wife team who live in Ocean View. Tonya manages the restaurant and Fran is head chef.
“This is something we have wanted to do ever since visiting Rehoboth years ago,” Tonya said.
Fran said the goal is offer an authentic Italian dining experience. It’s like taking a vacation in Italy, he said.
Originally from northern Italy, Fran’s family is scattered throughout the boot-shaped peninsula that juts into the Mediterranean Sea. Different areas of the country specialize in different foods, and from land to sea, the Azzurro menu pays respect to those differences, he said.
Fran said his family owned and operated restaurants in Italy, and he grew up on the traditional Italian recipes that customers will enjoy. The pasta is made made fresh daily, using a still-shining and well-loved pasta maker he received as a gift from his mom decades ago.
“I grew up playing with fresh pasta that my mom would make,” said Fran, with a smile as he recalled memories of his Italian childhood.
Fran said Azzurro will offer a traditional Italian pre-dinner course called an aperitivo. He explained that it’s similar to the American happy hour, but instead of being a separate menu from the dinner menu, it’s a small selection of the dinner menu offerings. The aperitivo is a time to relax, and its menu includes a number of light alcoholic drinks.
“It’s about people getting together and socializing,” Fran said.
Fran said the restaurant’s wine selection features well-known Italian wines and, as in Italy, the wine rack is in plain view for the customers to see the labels for themselves.
“Every good Italian meal comes with a bottle of wine,” said Fran.
As opening night approached, Fran said he was a little nervous, but he was happy with the restaurant’s atmosphere and confident the food was good.
“We’re ready for this new phase of our lives,” he said.
Azzurro Italian Oven and Bar, 210 Second St., Rehoboth, ids open 4 to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday.