September 28, 2016

Cucina After Dark

The Cucina exterior after dark. Cucina is located at 1026 E. 2nd Ave.

The Cucina exterior after dark. Cucina is located at 1026 E. 2nd Ave.

The amber lights of the Cucina Deli in the Avenues now burn a bit later as the restaurant has begun serving candlelight dinner.

Cucina is known for its daily offering of breakfast scones and pastries, and comfort food such as meatloaf, teriyaki salmon, egg salad sandwich and pasta salads, all made from scratch and served in generous portions. It has a dedicated following of breakfast and lunch regulars. Now they hope they can attract additional loyal clientele with similar quality in a reasonably priced dinner fare.

Proprietor Dean Pierose has owned and run the deli since 2001. In serving dinner he increased the number of Cucina employees by nine to a staff of 41, including a new chef and two new cooks specifically for the dinner shift.

The deli now serves wine and beer. Cucina’s dinner entrée menu includes six items for $14 or less, and a dozen tapas that are less than $10. About half the tapas menu is vegetarian. Entrees include a duck and arugula salad, a beef stew and a pasta of the day. Tapas include a pork/liver pate, smoked meatballs in marinara sauce, beef /pork sliders and gravlax.

Dinner starts at five and is served until “everybody’s done,” says Pierose.

“Five o’ clock, every day, 365 days a year, we change over to full service. That’s what we do. We take care of the neighborhood. If the neighborhood’s out late, well, we need to be out late too.” Connie Tedron, a sous-chef at Cucina for five years, is now the general manager, sharing duties with Pierose. The nightlife on the lower Avenues just got a little brighter.