L’Gusto Cucina Italiana Open for Business
A new restaurant is open for business in Riverbank and if you like authentic Italian cuisine and a great choice of menus then L’Gusto Cucina Italiana may be the place for you. Owner, Executive Chef and Bakery Manager Sergio Alonso has truly made L’Gusto a family business.
The gastronomic establishment has white tablecloths and a bar offering wine and beer. The whole family participated in the renovation of the restaurant which included the patio, the dining room, the addition of cabins, the painting, the lighting and the kitchen, among other renovations. Alonso has three daughters who help at the front of the house and his wife helps at the back. His son Sergio Jr. is 10 years old and lends a hand that he sweeps or assists the chef.
Many locals are familiar with the coffee cup marker along Atchison Street in Riverbank and have seen many different restaurants come and go. Alonso has heard the sales stories but has high hopes for L’Gusto and plans to be there for a very long time.
“I see a lot of cars go by every day,” Alonso said of the location. “I wanted to open something small. I’ll change it (bad vibes). I will make this place a great place. So families can come here for family dinners for many years.
Alonso has been in the restaurant industry for approximately 28 years, where he spent approximately 10 years at a 5 star bay area restaurant and several years working at his brother’s restaurants in Modesto. His brothers own Papapavlo’s Mediterranean Bistro and Bar and Papapolloni Mediterranean Bistro which was also in Oakdale but has since closed there. Alonso is very familiar with the menus of these restaurants and has brought a few of their dishes to the menu at L’Gusto.
They opened on July 1 and already have regulars as well as a few favorites from local customers on the menu. Some of these items are Bordeaux lasagna, gourmet pizzas, pasta with seafood, and a ground chicken salad. They offer homemade soups like clam chowder, lemon chicken and minestrone as well as salads. Some of the pastas on the menu are Chicken Alfredo Fettuccini, Chef’s Choice, Spaghetti Bolognese, Mediterranean Chicken, Chicken Pomodoro, and Beef or Seafood Ravioli. A few menu starters are Pepper Sirloin , lamb chops and pistachio-crusted salmon.
“I love what I do,” Alonso said. “I just love to cook. It feels good when people like my plates. We have a great selection and we can do whatever they want. Come and try my food and I know you will come back.
Those who know that Alonso has opened his own restaurant are delighted to see him in the new location and to ask for some of their favorite dishes at the old restaurants. He has experience in catering and organizing banquets for different events, including weddings.
There are several options for those who also want a little something sweet after dinner, such as tiramisu, crème brûlée, cheesecake, chocolate mousse and spumoni. All the desserts are homemade by Alonso.
With employees being hard to find these days, the restaurant is only open for dinner from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Once they have a larger staff, they will open for lunch and dinner.
“I love being able to work with my family, especially my dad,” said Alonso’s daughter Natalie. “He worked really hard for this place. It’s nice to see him follow his dreams.
For a little pre-meal entertainment, Natalie suggests the flambé cheese that accompanies the freshly baked pita bread.
With no other Italian restaurant to compete with in Riverbank, a passion for cooking and a love of family, Alonso hopes that even in tough times, L’Gusto is here to stay.