By Jeff Theodore, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – Abby Winant wants diners to feel at home when they enter Tavolino, a popular restaurant in Westborough in operation since 2009.
“We want to be the place where people gather for bar mitzvahs, wedding parties and bereavements – a space for people when they need that special event in their lives catered to,” Winant said in a recent interview.
She started working at the restaurant in 2011 as a part-time bartender and rose through the ranks to become general manager.
Winant now additionally foresees the restaurant becoming a hub for private events.
“We want to expand our patio and add a deck,” she said.
The patio has about 20 tables that can accommodate 60 guests. Occupancy for the restaurant itself is about 150 guests.
Emphasizing the need for more private spaces, the restaurant shuttered its pizza bar and transformed it into a private room in 2020 after a $1 million renovation. Remodeling work at the restaurant had taken place after a faulty water heater erupted and caused severe water damage in 2019.
“We’re encouraging people who haven’t been here in a while to try us again,” Winant says. “We have a new HVAC system and our air circulation is on point. We have new management, new chef and a whole new staff. We’ve freshened up the place quite a bit.”
Tavolino may have relatively new digs, but its menu still retains a tried and true Italian flavor with entrée favorites such as spicy seafood Cioppino, a stew that consists of clams, cod, mussels, shrimp, scallops with a side of grilled crostini. There’s also Piccatta, a dish that features sauteed chicken or veal with garlic, capers, lemon and white wine.
Don’t forget the restaurant’s hand-made Bolognese sauce, a well-known creation from Bologna, Italy which is served with pappardelle ribbon pasta.
Winant says the restaurant has quite a few vegetarian dishes. It is also exploring the possibility of more vegan food options.
“We’re getting many more requests for vegan,” she said.
The restaurant can fulfill just about any requests for wine, with an extensive listing that can be served by the glass or by the bottle.
“We hand pick every single wine on our list,” Winant said, citing that some of Tavolino’s 100-plus wines hail from places as far away as Sicily and Argentina and as close as Napa and Sonoma Valley in California.
For those who aren’t ardent drinkers, Tavolino has an ample supply of non-alcoholic beverages and fun “mocktails.” Those include a cranberry and honey zinger, which consists of a house-made rosemary fig honey reduction, cranberry juice and a splash of ginger beer.
Whether it’s to enjoy a meal or a drink, Winant is anxious to keep connecting with regulars and new customers.
“I live in the town of Westborough, so I’ve come to know many of the people who come in,” she said.
Tavolino is closed on Mondays but it is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 1 to 8 p.m. on Sundays.
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