Mouthful

Cafe Tiramisu, North Ridge Pub get new homes

Paul DeMartino in the Cafe Tiramisu kitchen.
Paul DeMartino in the Cafe Tiramisu kitchen. Richard DeMartino

When the owners of Cafe Tiramisu and North Ridge Pub learned that they would have to move both restaurants because the landlord wanted to make room for a new tenant, their first reaction was dismay.

Cafe Tiramisu is a North Raleigh landmark, after all, that has made its home in North Ridge Shopping Center since Paul DeMartino and his sons, Richard and Rodolfo, opened it in 1996. Even their “new” restaurant — North Ridge Pub, which the DeMartinos had opened next door in 2005 — is a veteran by North Raleigh standards.

The landlord proposed to relocate both restaurants to the opposite side of the shopping center, offering the former Carolina Sushi space for Cafe Tiramisu’s new home. North Ridge Pub could have the old Weight Watchers space, which would require the considerable expense of installing an entire kitchen and dining room from scratch.

“At first we thought we’d have to close the pub,” says Rodolfo DeMartino, “but the landlord helped out with the construction. Now I’m glad we made the move.” North Ridge Pub opened at its new address (6010 Falls of Neuse Road; 919-981-6005; northridgepub.com) in November. In its new, roomier digs, the restaurant doubled its sales in the first month.

Meanwhile, Cafe Tiramisu remains open at its original location while the DeMartinos move the restaurant “a little bit at a time” to its new address (6008 Falls of Neuse Road; 919-981-0305; cafetiramisu.net). “We have to be out of the old place by the end of the month, so we’re hoping to open at the new one on Feb. 1,” according to Rodolfo DeMartino, who adds that the new space is slightly smaller but will keep the familiar elegant look with white tablecloths and romantic lighting. You can bet they won’t be messing with their time-tested menu of Italian classics in any significant way, either. The only change of note — adding Monday night service, so that the restaurant will be open every night at the new location — is sure to be a welcome one.

As longtime locals can tell you, “time-tested” goes back even further than the opening of Cafe Tiramisu. Piccolo Mondo, which Paul DeMartino opened in 1975 and ran for nearly two decades, is still fondly remembered by many. DeMartino closed that restaurant to bring his sons into the business with the opening Cafe Tiramisu — where, to this day, the 87-year-old family patriarch who has cooked for the likes of Perry Como and Natalie Wood can still be found cooking on the line. With that kind of dedication, it’s no wonder that when life gives the DeMartinos a lemon, they make limoncello.

Greg Cox, the longtime N&O restaurant critic, also covers restaurant news. Reach him at ggcox@bellsouth.net.

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