From the outside, Little Italy Ristorante looks like just another restaurant, but step through the doors and you are immediately transported to a quaint corner restaurant in Italy.
Violet Pedraza co-owns and operates the restaurant with Peter Cimino, a Sicilian living in Henderson, Nevada and Adam Talbert, who lives in Illinois.
Cimino and Talbert grew up and went to school to together in Illinois and own restaurants in Arizona and Illinois. Pedraza is their on-location manager and oversees daily operations.
“Peter and Adam started (Little Italy) three years ago,” Pedraza said. “They’ve been working on it since then. I jumped in on it around the first of this year.”
Little Italy warmly invites its guests to pull up a seat and order a plate of spaghetti or one of their Mama Cimino specialty pizzas. The walls are covered with pictures of Cimino’s family — basking in family laughter and broad smiles.
Little Italy opened May 20. Formerly the bowling alley and Rosa’s Cantina in Williams, the building required some renovations, including erecting walls and an overhaul of the restrooms and the kitchen.
“We were going to take the bowling alley floor out but then we discovered it is really hard to take it out,” Pedraza said. “We did a couple of places and decided to leave the rest.”
Pedraza has worked in customer service and restaurants all her life. In 2012 she helped open the Italian Bistro on Route 66.
“I think with them being far away it would make it hard to get somebody in here that would take care of business as if it was their own,” she said.
Since opening, Pedraza said business has been slow at the restaurant, however, she remains optimistic business will pick up.
“A lot of people don’t know we’re here yet,” she said. “We are on the main drag, but at the same time, we are away from it. That makes it a little slow for us.”
Pedraza said she is looking forward to having tour buses dine regularly at the restaurant.
“(With the buses) I see something fun,” she said. “I just imagine this place full and running — eventually with our liquor license. I see it running (like that) every day and I know it’s going to do great.”
Pedraza said they eventually plan to feature live music on the weekends.
“I see a lot of potential in the future. I am just very excited to see what is to come,” she said.