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Construction delays have set back the opening for the former AgriVino restaurant, renamed as Rosmarino Osteria Italiana

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Rosmarino Osteria Italiana will open soon in the First Street location that formerly held Cancun Restaurant.

Ladies and gentlemen of Newberg, dinner is not yet served.

Dario Pisoni, owner of the upcoming Italian restaurant Rosmarino Osteria Italiana at 714 East First St., said the restaurant has yet to open. Pisoni had initially hoped to be ready to go by Valentine's Day, but work remains to be done on the building and he is now aiming for a mid-March opening.

Rosmarino Osteria Italiana took over the long vacant space that was last occupied in 2015 by Cancun Restaurant, which closed without notice. Dario and Sheena Pisoni signed a lease on the building in October 2018, citing the support they received from the owners of the building, Tom Tesmer and Terry Emery.

The Pisoni's are relocating their Carlton restaurant, AgriVino, to Newberg, hoping to fill a void in Italian cuisine. They also wanted to be closer to other businesses and wineries. They had been asked for the past two years to come to the city to fill a void, as there is not a higher end Italian restaurant in Newberg; the only other Italian eatery, Pasquale's, closed years ago. They decided to move to Newberg to give the city "the best pure Italian cuisine."

"Newberg needs a good Italian restaurant. We do not have any around here," Tesmer said in 2017. "It will not be a five star, tourism type of place, but one where people can sit down and enjoy a good Italian meal and not spend too much."

The Pisoni's kitchen in Carlton had become too small for the volume of business they were experiencing and the couple settled on Newberg after looking at other locations for expansion.

The Carlton restaurant offers dinners Thursday through Saturday and is popular for its five-course wine pairing dinners. During the meals, Dario explains how the food and wine were paired with each other. They also serve lunch Thursday through Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a simple menu of Italian cheese and meat plates, pasta, risotto and salads.

AgriVino was recently featured as one of the best 100 restaurants in the United States by OpenTable, a popular reservation service. AgriVino received 4.9 stars out of five, based on 536 reviews. This was good for a 99 percent recommendation rate. It also listed the restaurant as a "special occasion," "authentic" and "worth the drive."

According to the OpenTable website, "The 100 Best Restaurants in America for 2018 are consistently putting out delicious dishes, providing impeccable service, and paying attention to every detail to orchestrate one-of-a-kind dining experiences time and again. The list features restaurants of all types and allows diners to find the right restaurant for any occasion. The list of honorees is based on an analysis of 12,000,000+ reviews of more than 28,000 restaurants across the country — all submitted by verified diners."

AgriVino was Oregon's lone inclusion on the list.


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