It’s a sign that has been piquing the interest and appetites of drivers along Woodville Road in Oregon.
“Coming soon. Fine Italian dining.”
Those who have visions of homemade lasagna, fettuccini Alfredo and other authentic Italian specialties dancing in their heads can stop yearning and prepare to dig in at La Forchetta Di Pasqualone beginning Nov. 20.
The restaurant, located at 2022 Woodville Rd., in the former Chez Vin, is the realization of a lifelong ambition for owner Ted Pasqualone, an Oregon native and Clay High School graduate.
“I’ve always wanted to open an Italian restaurant serving dishes my family has eaten and loved for generations, and I always wanted to do it on the East Side,” Pasqualone said. “There are good restaurants here, but nothing like this.”
After 20 years as a high school teacher in Toledo Public Schools and some time rehabbing and flipping houses, the time seemed right to follow his dream, Pasqualone said, adding he had been eyeing the Woodville Road location for some time.
“I approached (owner) Tom Cousino about the building, but he said that someone else had already expressed interested in it,” Pasqualone said. “So I started looking at other locations, and then Tom called me back and said the deal had fallen through. I was thrilled.”
A gallery of Ted Pasqualone’s family photos
Before committing, Pasqualone set out to make sure he could gather the rest of the ingredients he’d need to make his restaurant a success.
Immediately, he turned to his family.
He already had his grandma’s “tried-and-true” recipes, but he needed someone to cook them. His first call was to his nephew, Mike DeFalco who was cooking at an Italian restaurant in Perrysburg. “He knew the cooking and the ‘food side’ of the business,” Pasqualone said.
He also enlisted the help of his sister, Cynthia, who had worked at a local rental company, to use her business acumen and decorating skills to help with the “front of the house” side of the eatery. His sister, Karla will be in the kitchen as a prep cook.
Pasqualone also credits Cousino for helping him navigate his new endeavor as a restaurateur. “Tom has been great,” he said. “He’s been doing this for 50 years, and his guidance and expertise in choosing vendors, getting through the permit process and creating a ‘food plan’ have been invaluable.”
When the restaurant opens its doors, diners will be greeted by a gallery of Pasqualone’s original family photos and documentation from his grandparents’ arrival in the U.S. from Italy.
“My grandfather came from Italy in 1917 and my grandmother came in 1921,” he said.
It will be Grandma Rosa’s recipes that will be the backbone of La Forchetta Di Pasqualone’s menu.
For dinner, the menu boasts assorted antipasto, including Antipasto Frededo (Italian deli meats and cheeses with roasted peppers, tomatoes, olives and artichokes); Calamari Fritti (golden fried calamari served with spicy marinara sauce); and Verdure alla Griglia (mixture of fresh seasonal vegetables charbroiled and mixed in a balsamic vinaigrette), among other choices.
Diners can also enjoy a cup or bowl of Pasta e Fagioli or the soup of the day. Assorted salads will also be offered, including Caesar, spinach and a Fresh Tomato Caprese.
La Forchetta Di Pasqualone will challenge pasta lovers who have a hard time making a decision with its wide assortment of offerings, including Lasagna all Bolognese (pasta layered between a hearty meat sauce and mozzarella cheese); Spaghetti e Polpetine (al dente spaghetti tossed with homemade meatballs and marinara sauce); Fettuccine alla Panna (fettuccini tossed with homemade Alfredo); Linguini alla Vongole (linguini with clams in a white wine sauce); Rigatoni e Salsiccia (spaghetti tossed with Italian sausage and caramelized onions in a brown sauce); Penne alla Vodka (penne served with sautéed shallots in a tomato vodka cream sauce); Ravioli di Zucca (ravioli filled with pumpkin and tossed in a butter sage sauce) and Spaghetti Integrale (whole wheat spaghetti with mixed vegetables in a fresh tomato sauce).
There are others too, plus assorted beef, chicken and seafood entrees from which to choose.
For those who save room (or want to take it to go), there will be tempting homemade desserts including Italian classics tiramisu and panna cotta.
The lunch menu features assorted soups, salads and pasta dishes, along with sandwiches and a “Pick Two” option (half a sandwich, soup, half salad or half pasta).
“My personal favorite is the lasagna,” he said. “I never order lasagna when I go out because it’s never done the way I like it.”
The restaurant will also have a full bar with a selection of Italian wines, Pasqualone said.
Hours of operation will be Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. The bar will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Major credit cards will be accepted.