Rustico Taps a New Chef and Plots a Second Location
The Neighborhood Restaurant Group has hired Steve Mannino to replace the recently departed Frank Morales at Rustico in Alexandria. The company also announced plans to open a second branch of the neighborhood restaurant, at 4075 Wilson Blvd. in Arlington, next June.
Mannino, 36, is no stranger to the area, having opened Olives in Washington a decade ago. In 2004, he left the city to cook at Olives in Las Vegas. Later, he helped Philadelphia restaurateur Steven Starr open Buddakan and the Continental in Atlantic City.
Michael Babin, co-owner of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group, didn't have to look far to find his new executive chef: Mannino's been employed by the restaurant company in a catering capacity since November. "We needed to see if we liked each other," jokes Mannino.
His intended style at Rustico? "Not too many ingredients," says the chef. "If there's mushroom ravioli, you'll know it has mushrooms." He was drawn to the job in part because "this is the food I like to eat."
Coming soon at Rustico, says the fresh hire: Chicken wings -- and also foie gras.
-- Tom Sietsema
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