When the Uricchio family decided it wanted to open a restaurant in Bakersfield in 1995 they were warned about opening a restaurant downtown, especially one that served dinner.
The lure, however, of a corner building in a historic property was too much for the Uricchio family.
“(My father’s) vision was to ‘let’s find a place downtown,” said Claire Uricchio during a recent interview with Richard Beene for part of his “Dining out with Richard Beene” segments on kernradio.com. “My dad and (her brother, Steve) saw so much potential down here. Initially, they were told don’t bother opening for dinner because no one comes downtown at night. It was 1995, and Dad said it’s like admitting defeat. So, he did open every night and within a few days it was happening.”
DINING OUT WITH RICHARD BEENE: URICCHIO'S
Nick Uricchio’s vision for Uricchio’s Trattoria helped pave the way for other successful restaurants in downtown, and more than 20 years later the restaurant remains a destination for quality food, expert service, and a memorable dining experience.
Claire Uricchio said part of the restaurant’s ongoing success is also its staff — many of whom have been with the restaurant for years, including the chef. That stability has resulted in a consistent experience for those looking for classic Italian dishes.
It’s also one of Bakersfield’s most affordable restaurants with dinner entrees coming in between $16 and $35, and a lot of that food can go home to enjoy the next day, especially the lasagna.
During Beene’s visit he was able to sample a wide variety of some of the signature dishes, but he’ the first to admit that he loves Uricchio’s salads.
THE SALADS OF URICCHIO'S
“The spinach salad is my absolute favorite,” Beene told Uricchio. “I love them all. I love your house (salad). Sometimes with your house, I will get them to make some fried chicken strips and put them on the side.”
Claire Uricchio said the restaurant is always willing to work with their customers to make their experience even better, including providing friend chicken strips for Beene. During the visit, Beene sampled the restaurant’s antipasto, spinach chicken salad with mandarin oranges, and finally a Caesar salad with baby salad and baby shrimp.
The Caesar Salad was a surprise to Beene.
“I didn’t know you even had that,” Beene told Uricchio before taking a sample of the salad. “I should come here every night.”
When it came to entrees, Beene sampled the chicken piccata, a penne pesto pasta with shrimp and scallops, a trip salad, and the signature lasagna.