The story of Zinicola is one rooted in love. For executive chef and owner Richard Cranmer, the foundation of the new Italian spot is his relationship with the cooks who helped . For years, meals prepared by his mother and his nonna brought their family together.
As a young child, Cranmer traveled every year to the small Italian town of San Giorgio a Liri to visit his nonna; there, he says, he was able to watch a woman who loved her family through the food she cooked. Following in her footsteps with Zinicola, Cranmer incorporates the flavors of each season, making all pastas from scratch and serving guests as if they were family.
Using ingredients that are largely from Carolina farms to recreate my family’s old-world recipes feels harmonious,” says Cranmer. “It’s the perfect marriage of past and present.
Located in Ballantine Village, Zinicola opened its doors just this past December. Even though it’s only been open a few months, the eatery is already leaving its mark on the Queen City. In addition to the requisite handmade pasta options, the menu includes lighter fare, like tuna crudo and a beet salad, freshly prepared pizzas, and heartier entrees ranging from short rib to seafood and vegetarian options. With locally-grown produce driving new springy menu items, and Cranmer channelling his family’s recipes through these Carolina ingredients, it’s no wonder Zinicola is already becoming a staple.
In addition to new seasonal menu options, the restaurant is also opening a full-service outdoor bar and dining space in early summer, further complementing their specialty cocktail menu and extensive wine list.
All this is in the name of a certain kind of hospitality. For Cranmer, Italian cuisine isn’t just a passion; it’s the foundation of the heartfelt dining experience he hopes to create. Dining at Zinicola, Cranmer insists, should feel like coming home.