CINCINNATI — It is nearly 10 months into the coronavirus pandemic and many people are looking forward to new places and experiences to help them escape the current situation.
John Cioffi III said this is why he and his business partners decided to open a new Italian restaurant and wine bar at 1000 Delta Ave. in Mount Lookout Square.
"Cibo Vino means food and wine, literally, in Italian," said Cioffi. "So, we wanted to bring a concept to Mount Lookout that was a little bit on the higher demographic end."
He said Cibo Vino delivers a taste of Italy as soon as customers approach the restaurant with its colorful stucco face.
"You can't help but be inspired by it," Cioffi said.
There are a few surprises inside, too.
"Nobody knows that there's actually a wine grotto in the back," Cioffi said, adding that he and his partners plan to install outdoor heaters and offer live music in the space within a few weeks.
Co-owner and head chef Chris Baulo said the decor and building perfectly match the Italian-inspired food and wine menu he has created.
Baulo said, "We want everybody to come in and feel comfortable," while at the same time introducing them to something new.
"We went with about 70 percent of the wine list being Italian, a little bit different than American wines or, let's say, French wines," he said. "You're talking about styles. There are so many . . . there are multiple styles that are made with similar varietals of grapes."
Baulo said those styles represent multiple regions of Italy and pair well with his mostly small-plate menu that features multiple antipasti, salads, seafood and a rotation of other seasonal dishes.
Cibo Vino also makes six varieties of pasta in-house each day.
"I like to think I'm more of using ingredients you would find a lot in Italian cooking from across Italy, not just in one particular region," Baulo said. "We want to have a good amount of smaller options right. You can actually have multiple things and try a lot of things."
For those looking to simply find a new wine, Cibo VIno also offers tastings by the glass on 30 percent of the restaurant's selection, or wine flights, which the restaurant's staff will walk guests through.
Opening a new restaurant during the pandemic can be challenging, but Cioffi said he feels that sometimes people need to be as bold as some of the wines Cibo Vino serves.
"If you wait for everything to be perfect, it’s almost like everything in life. Sometimes you'll never do a deal," he said.
For more information, visit cibovinobar.com.