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Ritrovo’s opening makes a family’s dream come true

January 24, 2011

An interior shot of the recently-opened Ritrovo on the site formerly occupied by Conversations in Greenwich Village, at the corner of Forge and Post Roads.

It may have taken nearly 35 years, but Richard Mignanelli has finally opened a second restaurant.
Ritrovo, on the second floor at Greenwich Village, 1050 Main St., opened for business last Thursday and will receive an official grand opening in late February, said Mignanelli, who opened Richard’s Pub at 3347 South County Trail in 1976.
“I was looking for something to help my boys and leave for my grandchildren down the road,” Mignanelli said Tuesday as some of the unfinished business that comes with a restaurant’s second week of operation swirled around him.

Ritrovo, an Italian restaurant, has inherited the longtime home of Conversations, which Rose Farina, longtime owner of The Golden Lantern on the Warwick-West Warwick line, opened in 1988. In recent years, the restaurant was owned by Ken and Barbara Guercia.
Conversations closed in November 2009, and Mignanelli bought the facility in August. Extensive remodeling of the furniture, relocation of the bar and a complete revamping of the kitchen facilities conspired against his hopes to open for business before the holidays.
“It was a good investment, but we spent a lot more renovating than we anticipated,” he said.
The 100-capacity restaurant’s menu will expand on the Italian offerings from Richard’s while still maintaining a pub menu with a variety of touches brought over from Mignanelli’s original restaurant.
The giant decorative espresso machine from Richard’s now serves as the centerpiece for the bar, with large-screen televisions on each side.
Eric LaBelle, assistant chef at Richard’s, will step into the head chef’s role at Ritrovo, with Lindsay MacKinnon as the manager.
The Mignanelli family’s involvement will be felt throughout the new restaurant. Richard’s two sons, Steven (general manager at the Paul Masse care dealership in Woonsocket) and Rick (sales manager for RDC, a computer firm) are partners in the business, as is Janice, his wife, who will continue baking desserts.
“The boys were very influential in the design of the place,” Mignanelli said.
“We’ll use the same formula from Richard’s: generous portions, quality food and good drinks,” he added.
The first weekend went well, Mignanelli said, with a mix of former Conversations regulars and Richard’s clientele wanting to sample something new.
“I think people around here were waiting for this place to reopen,” he said.
Ritrovo (Italian for “meeting place”) is open from 4 p.m. to midnight from Tuesday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Monday.

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