From Vincenzo's to Rufina's
Vincenzo's Ristorante will take the new name of Rufina's in early July.
A hair joke between Vincenzo’s new owner and her significant other ended up giving the iconic restaurant its new name.
Come early July, Chelmsford will say hello to Rufina’s Authentic Italian Dining.
“In Italian, it means red-headed. My other half teases me about my hair,” said owner Cathy Ribeck.
The choice of Rufina’s concluded a few-month search that saw about fifty different submissions from everyone from the restaurant’s staff to its customers.
“The customers liked to throw their two cents in…all the regulars had an idea,” said Christine Lewis, a server at Vincenzo’s.
“It’s like naming another baby,” said Ribeck.
The move is also just the beginning for the new proprietor, who since officially taking control last Wednesday has been busy with behind-the-scenes tasks such as making sure the phones are up to ordering new food product. But the establishment is also moving forward as Executive Chef Rob Neely has been creating samples of potential new items to give to customers.
“He’s a fabulous chef. He’s really great…Rob’s really creative,” said Ribeck.
So far, Ribeck and Lewis said, the base has been very supportive, with Vincenzo’s accumulating more than one table’s worth of flowers from well-wishers.
“It’s been flowers arriving after flowers,” said Lewis.
“(People want to help with) a lot of decorating. They also want to work here,” said Ribeck.
This sense of community is something that Lewis, who rejoined the staff in 2002 after three years as a full-time parent to two daughters, says makes the restaurant a special place for its employees and regulars.
“It’s my second home. I think our customers feel the same way…(we’ve had relationships) to the point where we’ve had customers who we get worried about because we haven’t seen them for a couple of weeks,” said Lewis.
“It’s just fun here. People relax a little bit with us, and we do the same with them,” said Catherine Dubois, also a server.
As the sixty-day period allowing Ribeck to use the name “Vincenzo’s” ends in early July, she is planning a new grand opening for the restaurant as “Rufina’s then. As for the future, Ribeck said she is looking forward to moving forward with the new name and more than appreciates the support she has received from well-wishers.
“It’s been a really good feeling to know that people are so supportive,” said Ribeck.