Photos by Caroline Drew.
Fried Lobster Tails at The Villaggio
The Villaggio at Ross Bridge offers a variety of Italian favorites like Fried Lobster Tails and Margherita Pizza, as well as a wide selection of wine andbeer.
Customers are so important to The Villaggio owners that the restaurant was designed with them in mind. For those who just want a drink, there’s seating at the bar; for those who wish to sit and watch the wood burning pizza ovens, there’s a pizza bar; and for those who are looking for a more intimate meal, there is a private dining room in the back. This is all in addition to regular indoor and outdoor seating.
But options don’t end there. Canine friends can join their owners every day from 4-6 p.m. for “Yappy Hour” on the outdoor patio.
Naturally, a more common Happy Hour also takes place every day from 4-6:30 p.m. The wine list features selections from all over, but most, of course, bear Italian labels.
It was only this past April that The Villaggio found its home on the Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa grounds. Co-owner Tamika Dunning said the uniqueness of Ross Bridge’s “European, eclectic feel” influenced a decision to open a restaurant there.
Dunning and her husband, Jonathan, have worked to combine their passions of food and travel into the atmosphere of The Villaggio. The Dunnings’ travels to Europe specifically inspired the Italian style of their newest restaurant.
“We wanted to bring home what we loved,” Dunning said.
The menu boasts many dishes that are traditionally prepared, leaving the Americanized methods of Italian eatery behind. Entrée options include Rigatoni Bolognese, Chicken Parmigiana and Lasagna. The menu also offers a variety of seafood selections, such as customer favorite Fried Lobster Tails.
Outside dinner time, The Villaggio is open for lunch on weekdays, and a brunch from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday features an all veggie omelet and breakfast pizza.
No matter the time of day, pizzas made on two wood burning ovens imported from Italy are popular. The pizza chefs have their craft down to a science, so much so that Dunning refers to them as “pizza-ologists.” They can use their expertise to make your dish with any topping you desire, or the menu boasts options like a Margherita Pizza or Spinach and Salmon Pizza. Calzones, another customer favorite, are also cooked in the pizza ovens. Both the calzones and pizza have vegetarian alternatives as well.
Dunning credits her team of employees at The Villaggio who work to keep the food delicious and the customers happy.
“It’s a family,” Dunning said of her staff. “We have very high standards and everybody who’s here wants to be here.”
Jasmine Reyes, general manager of the restaurant, is devoted to making sure each customer has a positive experience, according to Dunning.
The only request the staff cannot satisfy is choosing a favorite dish off of the menu.
“We all like everything, it honestly just depends on what we feel like,” Dunning said.
Dunning said one of her favorite parts of owning the restaurant is that she can eat the food whenever she wants. But still, closer to her heart than delicious meals is her desire to give customers a place to enjoy eating with their friends and family.
This is not the Dunnings’ first go around with the restaurant business; they are also owners of Hoover’s La Dolce Vita. There’s a reason they’re continuing their endeavor in hospitality: they love making people happy and feeding them quality food while they do it.