by Cassie Mattia
Loveland, Ohio – Could Downtown Loveland get any better? One local restaurant has proven that it definitely can and all it took was a little bit of authentic Italian cuisine!
On Friday, February 5th Rodi Italian, located at 115 Karl Brown Way in the Downtown Historic District of Loveland, hosted a “Favorite People” dinner, in which yours truly was invited, where owner and head Chef Rob Peloni, owner Jo Beyersdorfer, and a very upbeat staff served up some outstanding Italian dishes!
Peloni and Beyersdorfer thought holding a “soft opening” would give the staff the practice they needed to prepare for the official opening which just recently occurred on Saturday, February 13th.
Peloni decided to call the soft opening a “Favorite People” dinner because he knew these individuals would be understanding if there happened to be a mistake or coaching on the spot!
Rodi Italian held four “Favorite People” dinners, two on February 5th at 5 PM and 7:30 PM and two on February 6th at 5 PM and 7:30 PM. Those invited were able to enjoy a beautifully cooked meal and drink free of charge with up to six guests.
Rodi was sure to abide by COVID-19 regulations during the soft-opening by enforcing masks and built-in plexiglass structures that were strategically placed between each table as well as each separate group of individuals at the bar.
I attended Rodi Italian’s “Favorite People” dinner on Friday, February 5th at 7:30 PM and decided to bring along my boyfriend, Adam, his Father, Dave, and Step-Mother, Debbie, for what I knew was going to be a fun-filled evening!
When I entered Rodi Italian’s beautifully remodeled restaurant I witnessed the hustle and bustle you would typically see at a restaurant that has the desire to succeed. Owner Jo was there to greet each and every single guest that walked into Rodi with a “smize” (smile with your eyes) as she enthusiastically walked each of us to our table. When we sat down we were thoroughly impressed with the COVID-19 regulations as Rodi had individual plexiglasses hanging from the ceiling dividing each seating area. Not only did this addition make me and my guests feel safe it also made for one special private dining experience!
The Rodi Italian decor was exactly what I imagined it to be; both modern and vintage, with industrial high ceilings, and a specially made liquor/bar glass shelving system that gave off a beautiful purple glow. Those were just a few of the unique Rodi decor finishes that caught my eye! In the heart of Rodi’s state-of-the-art open concept kitchen is a gorgeous ceramic wood fire pizza oven, with “RODI” embedded in the ceramic tiles on the front. Peloni wanted the open kitchen concept with the one-of-a-kind pizza oven at the heart of it all because he thought guests would enjoy watching their delicious homemade Italian dishes and pizzas being prepared by him and his crew!
Of course, the restaurant decor and atmosphere is not the only thing Rodi Italian has to offer; both the service and food are also out of this world!
When my guests and I attended the “Favorite People,” we were greeted with the utmost kindness and enthusiasm by our waiter. Not only did he thoroughly explain the menu, which is predominately authentic Italian dishes, he was also able to help us select glasses of wine (Rodi has a great selection of Italian wines) that we ended up loving! I was very impressed that in light of it being a “soft-opening” the staff was more than prepared for both menu and wine questions.
After looking at what was a “soft opening” menu (not the full Rodi menu) my guests and I decided to start our Italian dinner off with the “Brussels,” which included arugula, shaved brussel sprouts, crispy pancetta, shaved ricotta salata, pine nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil, and the “Occhi Blu,” which was prepared using romaine hearts, pancetta, creamy gorgonzola, and balsamic dressing. I am vegan so the kitchen was able to modify the Brussels for me, which I greatly appreciated!
The kitchen quickly prepared our appetizers and wow was the presentation impressive! Check out the photos I took of the Brussels and the Occhi Blu below!
After enjoying some wine and appetizers we selected the most important part of our Italian experience; the main course! I went with the “Cacio Pepe,” which included fusilli pasta, pecorino, cracked pepper, and olive oil, as did my boyfriend’s step-mom. My boyfriend ordered the “Emilia-Romagna” pizza, which was made with cream, mozzarella, roasted corn, prosciutto cotto, and sea salt, and his dad selected the “Lasagne,” a traditional lasagne bolognese layered with fontina and prosciutto cotto.
My guests and I were more than impressed with the Rodi Italian cuisine! My boyfriend’s step-mom at one point said, “This is the best pasta I have ever had,” and I couldn’t have agreed more. The texture of the pasta, the use of olive oil, and the addition of the cracked pepper just left me begging for more! Like I mentioned previously I am vegan so I did have to get some much-needed commentary on what precisely the Lasagne and pizza tasted like! According to my boyfriend, the pizza expert, the Emilia-Romagna pizza was not only, “perfectly cooked” but also “unique” in that the roasted corn perfectly complimented the prosciutto cotto and mozzarella. Check out the photo I captured below of Rodi Italian’s Emilia-Romagna pizza!
Although my guests and I had a small amount of leftovers because the dishes were so incredible, I will say the portion sizes for just one dish were more than enough to feed multiple people! My advice is that if you are planning on making a trip to Rodi Italian, which I highly recommend, come with an empty stomach and your English to Italian translation dictionary so you fully understand what meal your selecting. If you forget your dictionary no big deal as the staff is fully equipped to steer you in the right direction!
Rodi Italian officially opened their doors to the general public, Saturday, February 13th. Rodi is closed on Monday’s, open from 4:30 PM to 10 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and open from 4:30 PM to 9:30 PM on Sunday’s.
Carry-out will begin on Wednesday, February 17th. For the time being Rodi Italian will only be open for dinner service, but when the weather begins to warm up Rodi plans on opening its doors for both lunch and weekend brunch. To make reservations you can visit Rodiitalian.com or call 513-774-RODI.
Congratulations to Rob and Jo, owners of Rodi Italian, as well as the staff for hosting such a brilliant soft opening! Here at Loveland Magazine, we know that this authentic Italian restaurant will not only succeed but will quickly become one of the go-to restaurants in Downtown, Loveland! We are excited to see what the future holds for this new Loveland gem!
For more of the Loveland Salad With Me, Cassie Mattia stay tuned!