A yellow sign has been hanging outside of the former bank at the corner of Easton and Bradfield roads for quite a long time: “Coming soon. Riviera D’Italia.”
Well, that sign can be taken down, as the well-established Riviera made the move across the street to its new location, opening yesterday at noon.
Owners Sal and Brigid Sparacio were more than busy yesterday — there was a constant flow of people coming in and out of the restaurant. It’s something of a new experience for both of them; the new, larger restaurant brings a lot of change.
“A lot of things here are new for us,” Brigid Sparacio said while sitting at one of the restaurant’s tables in the main dining room. “We were open at our old location all day yesterday, so at the end of the day yesterday we did transfer a few pizza ovens and a dough machine! So far, everything’s going smooth today, and the transition has been easy.”
Sal's family opened Riviera at its former location on Easton Road in 1979, and Sal took the reins ten years later. That location was getting somewhat desolate, so the pair decided to make a change.
“We started thinking about purchasing [the new property] in the summer of 2011,” Brigid said. “We were actually looking at another location, but the parking wasn’t sufficient.
“All of a sudden, the auction sign for this property went up,” she continued. “We said, ‘Let’s go to the open house.’ Once we did, we started envisioning the restaurant — where the kitchen would go, where the seating would be …”
The restaurant’s main dining area is highlighted by a silver bank vault, which sits in the back. (Brigid said its walls are 18 inches thick, so even if it weren’t cool to look at, the safe would have to stay.) To the right is the kitchen, as well as a pizzeria-style seating area. There is also a private dining area in the rear of the restaurant. Parking is improved, as the site can accommodate about 20 cars; additional parking can be had at Faith Community Church across the street.
With the new restaurant comes four times the staff — including servers and hosts — a new computerized order-taking system, a new chef, and new entrees. And the restaurant is now a BYOB.
Though there are plenty of changes to the restaurant, Brigid, a lifelong resident of Roslyn, said one thing couldn’t change.
“We’ve gotten a great response from the community on the move, and It was absolutely important to stay in Abington,” she said.