Il Vesco Vino's taking it down a notch. On March 1, the St. Paul Italian restaurant will "embrace a more casual atmosphere and approachable menu," a transformation that includes changing its name to owner James Risimini's nickname, which happens to be the same name as the anxious rat on the Muppets and the "fast" girl in the movie "Grease." Got a clue?
Risimini hopes the new name, Rizzo's, will entice a more casual crowd. The transformation also applies to the menu, which will be "moving away from [its] specialty Southern Italian roots and embracing all of Italy."
More details from the Pi Press:
"The name has been a problem for years," says Risimini, who opened Il Vesco Vino on Cathedral Hill in 2006 and relocated a few years later to West Seventh Street, 1 1/2 blocks from the Xcel Energy Center. "It's hard to remember, and makes us sound like we're upscale, and we're not."
To make sure people get the message, Risimini also is lowering the prices and expanding the bar menu in hopes of attracting more of the eat-and-run Xcel crowd. Besides an expanded beer list, there will be more quick bites, such as mini burgers, panini sandwiches and Italian-style chicken wings.
But he has a big space to fill -- 160 seats -- and Risimini also wants to turn tables on non-Xcel nights as well. To entice people to drive downtown, the $25 pre-recession entrees are being replaced with budget-friendlier $15 options.
Here are our other favorite Rizzos in action: