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Open Arms

Loveland Welcomes Upscale, Northern Italian Dining Establishment Enoteca Emilia

Article by Elizabeth A. Lowry

Photography by Elizabeth A. Lowry

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

Margaret Ranalli’s familiarity with the Loveland area prior to 2017 was, like many Cincinnatians’, somewhat hit or miss. Sure, she recalled riding the bike trail, going canoeing, visiting the theater company once or twice, maybe even grabbing a bite to eat at one of the original dining establishments—but she didn’t really have any kind of reason to make it a frequent destination.  

After all, she was busy running Enoteca Emilia out of its original O’Bryonville location from 2011 to 2016, after which she closed up shop and moved to Charleston, South Carolina, to help a developer open three separate dining concepts. 

Then, two years later, she received a call from JoAnne Serdar of Entertainment Properties that had her giving Loveland some serious thought. JoAnne was curious if Margaret might be interested in opening up a restaurant in the vacant space on the corner of West Loveland and 2nd Street, formerly occupied by Bella’s Restaurant. 

“Now, when I first got this call, I really dismissed Loveland as a good location,” she says. “But then when I flew up here and saw the development and restaurants and retail, it became a no-brainer.”

All the Love for Loveland

In addition to the prime location, Margaret says there were other elements of the space that really drew her to want to open Enoteca Emilia again. 

“The fact that [the space] is on one level makes it so much easier … it’s a newer facility and the kitchen is three times the size of the original,” Margaret says. “The ability to have the patio is amazing … as is the ability to open the windows and have a two-sided bar. The whole space had great energy—plus I love the foot traffic.”

And, even though the restaurant is starting over in a new part of town, Margaret chose to keep some of the same staff as before, including chef Brittany Blodgett, sous chef Daniel Carter and wine director Ben Kohn. 

“Loveland has been welcoming and inviting, with a variety of all sorts of people who want to have a nice meal and be social,” Brittany says. “I never came here before, until I (ironically) interviewed with Bella’s after Enoteca closed. Ultimately I turned down that job.”

“Having a second chance and a fresh start was nice to get my head back in the game … and our management team is great here, too,” Brittany adds. “We took three years to grow and learn and figure ourselves out and bring it to a whole new level.”

Margaret is also looking forward to working with the chamber of commerce to get involved with events and grow the Loveland community. “I think every business should get involved. Anything I can help to promote, I certainly will,” she says. 

Sit and Stay Awhile

Margaret’s concept for Enoteca Emilia was always upscale rustic northern Italian, and the team is keeping about 80 percent of the menu the same as it was in its first iteration, with base recipes such as bolognese, pizzas and veal meatballs, as well as their salumi and cheese boards.

For first timers, Margaret suggests you take your time and order a variety of small plates. “I would say our menu is designed for lots of shareable things. Start with salumi, share a pizza and then some brussels sprouts,” she advises. “Come discover your own personal favorites.” 

With the warmer weather will come some menu changes like regular seafood features as well as the ability to sit outside on the 70-person patio, opposite the two-sided bar.

They also plan on adjusting their hours of operation a bit, to open the bar a little earlier on the weekends—as well as opening for weekend lunches—and include tap wine plus happy hour drink and food specials.   

Currently, Enoteca Emilia is accepting reservations, though you are also welcome to stop in and try your luck at getting a table. Although there is no separate, private event space, they can hold semi-private events and seat parties up to 16. 

Facebook.com/EnotecaEmilia | 110 S. 2nd Street | 513.583.0300

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