Ed Cordova and Cindy Castaneda have made quite an impact since opening Luisa Ristorante. The co-owners bought Luisa Ristorante on Jan. 2 of this year, reopening it after some quick renovations on Feb. 7. In that short time, their concept and cuisine earned them a Reader’s Choice Award for Best Italian Restaurant.
“My wife and I had been looking to open a small community-oriented restaurant for many years now,” Cordova explains. “We happened to stumble onto a Kijiji ad for Luisa Ristorante, and since our goal was to have an Italian concept, we jumped at the opportunity!”
They are quick to thank to Miguel Castaneda, Cindy’s father and the retired owner and chef of Sicilian Pasta Kitchen South, for the important role he’s played in helping them bring their culinary dream to life.
The experience so far has been nothing short of fulfilling for the team. “We love how we’ve been able to rebuild the brand in such a small period of time, and how we’ve connected with so many people over the last four months.”
Their dedication to the experience of dining has helped the restaurant achieve its success. “We try to stand out by going beyond what’s expected. For example, we will have a birthday card waiting at the guest’s table.”
They also operate what is known as a scratch kitchen. “We make everything (other than our pasta noodles) from scratch,” Cordova explains. “Our Italian sausage is made in-house and has no preservatives, gluten, or nitrites. We are celiac friendly, and we can offer options for people on restricted diets.”
In a few short months, their customers were smitten – by their dedication as well as their dishes.
“One of our most popular dishes is our cannelloni, which is made with braised short ribs instead of ground beef.”
“It’s not about one item, though,” Cordova concludes. “What we provide is not just a meal or a glass of wine, but a truly memorable experience!”