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Newport, RI – Giusto, the first independent restaurant concept from Chef Kevin O’Donnell, today announced its grand opening will take place on Tuesday, September 8th.
A Rhode Island native with almost two decades of experience at celebrated restaurants in New England, New York, Italy, and France, Kevin’s homecoming fuses his talent and creativity to bring freestyle Italian cuisine to Newport. Located at the new Hammetts Hotel on Commercial Wharf, Giusto boasts beautiful water views and an expansive patio alongside intimate indoor dining options.
In the imagining of his premier solo concept, Kevin knew he wanted to create a dining experience that pays homage to Italian cuisine while drawing outside of the lines. Freestyle Italian is the authenticity of familiar ingredients, culture, and soul through the lens of local inspiration and, most importantly, fun. Joined by longtime friend and collaborator Executive Chef Kyle Stamps (The Mooring, 22 Bowen’s), the two will partner in the kitchen for innovative, lighthearted dishes made using as many fresh, local products as possible.
Inspired by the simplicity of traditional Italian cooking as well as its focus on quality ingredients, Kevin melds the two with his affection for his home state’s wide array of farms, fisheries, and other producers. The menu features both recognizable favorites and nuanced interpretations. Snacks include Calabrian Style Stuffed Quahog ($9) with chili, orange, and corn; Fritelle ($5), savory fritters with ricotta, honey, and chili; and The Scotch Meatball ($6) with tomato, egg, and salumi. Pastas, house-made with stone ground flour, showcase Kevin’s expertise and include Shrimp Cappellacci ($19) with zucchini, garlic, and mint; Ricotta Love Letters ($19), ravioli with roasted figs, poppy seed, and aged balsamic; and Spaghetti ($19) with clams, chourico, garlic, chili, lemon, and parsley. Plates are designed both for sharing and individual enjoyment and include the Fake Caprese ($13) with heirloom melon, tomato agrodolce, stracciatella, and horseradish; black Fried Calamari ($14) with squid ink tempura, capers, and cherry peppers; and Corn Found on an Italian Street ($11) with pepperoni and sheep milk ricotta. Among the larger entrees are the Striped Bass ($21) with olive, caper, tomato, lemon, and fennel; and a Cast Iron Ribeye ($22) with potato and jimmy nardello peppers, antipasto style. A selection of house-made desserts round out the menu and feature gelatos ($3.50 per scoop) like the Gianduja with hazelnut chunk and burnt marshmallow; and Pineapple Sorbetto with kewl whip, brown sugar, and [optional] Stoli Doli chaser; along with Olive Oil Cake ($10) with stone fruit al forno and basil gelato; and Torta Caprese ($10) with chocolate, tomato, and gooseberry.
The beverage program, a collaboration between Kevin and General Manager/Beverage Director Aaron Edwards, highlights local craft beer, Italian wines, and crushable cocktails. Partnerships with Mucci Imports and Vine Farmer exclusively bring smaller vineyards with never-before-served natural and biodynamic wines to Rhode Island. A focus on flavor, fun, and value finds something for everyone.
Designed by Rhode Island native Libby Slader, Giusto’s vibrancy is reflected in each corner of the 3,800 square foot restaurant. Inside, a combination of high top tables, Hollywood-style booths, intimate banquets, bar seating, and a 14-person private dining room together create a fun and inviting ambiance, no matter the occasion. Outside, the 100-seat partially-covered patio features varied dining tables, lounge and bar seating. Warm woods are brightened by floor-to-ceiling windows and accordion windows that connect the inside bar with the outside. An open kitchen offers a glimpse behind the scenes.
Together, Kevin, Libby, and Beehan Brothers Construction have worked closely with the Rhode Island Health Department to ensure complete compliance with the state’s Covid rules & regulations. This includes an emphasis on open-air dining, socially-distanced tables, and plexiglass barriers where necessary.
Located at Hammetts Hotel (4 Commercial Wharf, Newport), Giusto is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner beginning at 11am. A limited food & beverage menu is also available daily across the patio at Hammetts Hotel from 2pm-8pm.
Literally translated to “quite right,” Giusto embodies this very meaning. The timing, the place, the feeling. And that’s what Kevin wants guests to experience each and every time they visit.