On Sunday, January 17, Italia Ristorante celebrated its Grand Opening, complete with the First Annual Italia Ristorante Car Show. This restaurant has been around for quite some time, but the previous owners had allowed both the food and the service to deteriorate to the point of no return. That’s when Michael and Ravella Cowhey stepped in and took over. Since they took hold of the reins last September, there has been a complete turnaround – now they are working to overcome the negative reputation the former owners had built up. If this celebration was any indication, they are well on the way to doing that.
In addition to improving the quality of the restaurant, the Cowheys are determined to be a vital part of the community, and the Car Show was just a start. They truly care about Santee and want to do what they can to keep it a great place to live. The Grand Opening was a chance for Santee to see the changes that have been made, especially in the food. I had a chance to try slices of the regular cheese and pepperoni pizzas, and enjoyed both. In addition, they are working to bring Chicago heart and style to Santee with their Chicago-style deep dish pizza. I also had a slice of that, and I have to say that it is more than a mouthful. I will definitely be going back in the future. And no, in accord with new federal guidelines, I did not get any special treatment that wasn’t given to any of the others involved in the event.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Italia Risotrante
L-R: John Morley, Virginia & Ronn Hall, Miss Santee – Sierra Billock, Miss Santee Teen – Nicole Ehlke, Santee Councilman John Minto, Ravenna Cowhey, Terry Harris (back), Aramis & Dartanian Cowhey, Michael Cowhey, Thomas Hootman, Sam Jajo, Chamber President John Olsen, Councilman Brian Jones, Rob McNelis (I could not find a picture showing the man behind Sam Jajo, nor did I get his name)
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Warren Savage presents a proclamation from the State of California
Dave Stall of 1170 KCBQ brought his So Cal Off Road Radio show to the celebration
Former Chamber of Commerce President Rob McNelis (at right, with DJ Dennis J) brought his OneStop Party People to provide music for the day
Inside the Sport Bar section
The First Annual Italia Ristorante Car Show
For more Car Show pictures, click here.