Devincenzi's, the name of the Italian restaurant slated to open in about a week, is scrolled on the glass door leading into the historic St. Charles Hotel. "My wife and I have been dreaming of doing something like this for 20 years," said owner Rick Miller. "We have great product. The tastes are both authentic and unique."
The restaurant is a family affair. Matriarch Suzanne Devincenzi and Miller, her son-in-law, are part of the team. Daughter Lisa Miller will help her mother in the kitchen, and Miller's brother, Don, will be manager.
Murals in rich, vivid hues decorate the walls of one room. Ornate Tiffany lamps are suspended on long chords from the high ceilings, and the bar, just inside the door, is shined and ready to go.
"We spent about six months preparing the rooms," Rick Miller said. "We've changed every color, every light fixture. The only thing we haven't done is move the walls."
He originally planned to put the restaurant in the Minden-Gardnerville area, but said he was approached by people from the St. Charles.
"We decided to move to Carson City, and I'm glad we did," he said. "I love the location. We're not open yet, and we've had a great response from both the local people and legislators. They stick their heads in the door all the time and ask us when we're going to open."
Originally from San Francisco, Devincenzi describes her cooking as third-generation, northern Italian Genovese and Lombardy cuisine.
The pastas and raviolis will be handmade, as will the porcini mushroom gravy, a tomato-based sauce. The gravy takes three days to make and will be an ongoing process, Devincenzi said.
The menu includes pizzas, pastas and chicken sauteed in a special mushroom sauce and will be expanded.
Rick Miller said he's been approached about establishing another restaurant in the Yerington area. He sees that as a possibility, but will establish the Carson City business first.
The first floor of the St. Charles has been home to other restaurants, including Joe Garlic's and most recently Cafe Del Rio, which closed about two years ago.
Rick Miller said they are aware of past problems, and hotel owner Bob McFadden has done a lot of work on the 141-year-old building's infrastructure to correct them.
"I'm very excited about this," Devincenzi said. "We're happy to be here and ready to serve."
The tentative opening date, barring last-minute problems, is July 1. For more information, call 883-8900.