Freelance Writer
Eat Beat I, Worcester Magazine
02.15.06 | No Comments

Section: A&E / Dining
eat beat
By Charlene Arsenault

Bigger, better and booze: Al Fresco Trattoria and Café, which moved to its present location at 680 Main Street in Holden two years ago, has expanded. Since owner Nicola Viapiano was unable to buy any of the units located in this strip mall, he did the next best thing: he expanded forward toward the parking lot. Now with a full bar (it was BYOB) with hand picked wines and a martini list, the restaurant has also added an intimate dining section and a larger menu. The chef is Matthew Sciabarrasi, but manager Tonya Zinno says that many ideas for the menu items also come from Viapiano, who is from Italy, as well as customer suggestions. “We’ve added a lot more seafood and beef options,” says Zinno. “[Viapiano] does a lot of dishes that you don’t see that he brings from his home.”

Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4-9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 4-10 p.m.; 4-9 p.m. Sundays. The bar is open later. Call 508-829-3008 for reservations.

Not only Italian on Shrewsbury Street: The Red Lantern is moving into 235 Shrewsbury St. (where the former Volvo dealership was), projected to open during the first week of November, according to Mike Revelli, the attorney facilitating the deal. Owned by Dan Ha and his sister Lan Qu Seow, the Red Lantern will feature Chinese, Malaysian, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. “It’ll be open seven days a week,” says Revelli. “It’s going to be fashioned very similarly to Chum Lee’s in Shrewsbury. Dan worked there a long time. It’ll be about a 66 seating plus bar place. It’ll be pretty nice. They have a bunch of money into it already. It’ll be kind of upscale and bring a bit of diversification to Shrewsbury Street, especially with Coral Seafood moving in next door. It’ll be great.”

Decorate your sweet house: For the last 27 years, the Publick House has been building a 10-foot gingerbread house. But this year, you’ll have a chance to decorate your own. On Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to noon guests can make a 10-inch tall house while enjoying cookies, cider, games and Christmas movies. The reason we tell you about this now is you have to reserve your spot by Nov. 16. Call 800-PUBLICK.

Wine tastings? New chef? New menu items? Opening a new place? Expanding? Eat something good? Eat something bad? Did your mom win a pie recipe contest? If it’s directly or indirectly related to food and drink, we want to hear about it. Direct any and all of your juicy foodish news and tidbits to Charlene at, or call 508-755-8004, ext. 245.

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