By Catherine Twing, Contributing Writer
Westborough – When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, restaurants across the state were forced to close or offer take-out only.
But for Tavolino Restaurant in Westborough, this was their second closure in less than 12 months. After a water heater issue caused flooding in 2019, the restaurant was closed for nearly a year, reopening in January 2020.
“It’s definitely been tough. We haven’t even had time to have a grand reopening,” said General Manager Abby Winant. “We still have people calling saying they didn’t even realize we had reopened.”
During the pandemic the restaurant was able to offer take out and are grateful for the support of their loyal patrons. As soon as they were able, they opened for outdoor dining, with an expanded patio permitted by the town of Westborough. They now have 17 outdoor tables and are able to seat 76 customers outside with social distancing, as well as limited indoor dining.
They plan to offer outdoor seating as long as the weather allows.
“We have five heaters outdoors, strategically placed around the entire patio to try to keep the entire patio open as long as possible,” Winant said. “People are more willing to sit outside. It was cold a few weeks ago and some people still wanted to be outside.”
Winant calls the food scratch Italian with a twist.
“We try to really stick to classic Italian dishes, but also with items on our menu that are more contemporary American. You’ll find something like truffle fries with a basil ketchup. You’ll also find more classic Italian dishes like Bolognese or marinara sauces, all prepped in-house.”
Longtime customers will be excited to hear that Brian Boudreau has returned as chef. He had worked at Tavolino from 2011-2016 and has come back with some of his specialty dishes like wild boar.
“It’s a slow braised wild boar in a chianti sauce with spices. There’s a lot of love that goes into that dish,” Winant said. “It’s something you can’t get everywhere.”
Tavolino also has Fall specials such as butternut sacchetti with sage. She described the dish as squash filled dumpling pasta with dried cranberries and mascarpone cheese, served with an apple cider drizzle.
For those looking for gluten-free options. Tavolino is well versed in handling allergies and especially gluten allergies.
“A lot of people come here for our gluten-free pasta and pizza. A wide variety of items on our menu can be prepared gluten-free,” Winant said.
Tavolino in Westborough is the second restaurant with that name. The first Tavolino is at Patriot Place in Foxborough. Both are owned by Graham Filliman as part of Better Foods LLC. Filliman also owns Siena Restaurant in Mashpee.
Tavolino Restaurant is located at 33 East Main Street in Westborough in the Bay State Commons. They’re open every evening for dinner (4-9 p.m.) and for lunch at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday.