Marin Mainstay La Toscana Announces Completion of Major Restaurant & Bar Renovation
San Rafael, CA, January 2014 – After 28 years in business with only minor enhancements to the space, La Toscana Ristorante & Bar has completed an extensive interior and exterior renovation. The facelift has transformed this already popular San Rafael restaurant and bar into an environment for any gathering or occasion.
The improvements include a stylish new bar with plenty of flat screen TVs, perfect for viewing sporting events with friends, and a redesigned dining room, complete with gas fireplace. La Toscana also renovated the existing outdoor patio space, which is now covered with a retractable Corradi awning made in Italy.
In the spirit of their commitment to being a family run business, La Toscana remained open during the construction to keep customers well-fed and the staff employed. Many of La Toscana’s employees have been with the restaurant for over fifteen years, and they are family to the business. La Toscana is currently owned and operated by Marilyn Mori, daughter Laura Mori Riella, son Michael Mori and Chef Giovanni Raccanello.
La Toscana’s popular Italian food traces back to Lucca, Italy, where founders Paolo and Marilyn were both born before later meeting by chance in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood and marrying. Paolo has since sadly passed away, but Marilyn, Laura, Michael and Chef Raccanello, along with La Toscana ’s staff, proudly carry on with tasty Italian fare like pappardelle with wild boar ragu, chicken marsala, veal scaloppine and, of course, family favorite spaghetti and meatballs. Loyal customers rave about “the most delicious Italian food you can get in Marin” and the “friendly wait staff.”
The new La Toscana retains the same authentic charm and Italian hospitality and, of course, the same delicious food—with the updated style and decor of an upscale Tuscan eatery. “We started the project with the simple idea of upgrading our signage and facade, and that quickly led to deciding to renovate the interior space and patio as well,” says Marilyn Mori. “We had a general idea of what we wanted, but it really did not start to come together until we took a family trip to Italy in the summer of 2011. We took photos, and ate, at numerous restaurants, trattorias and bars throughout Tuscany – from countryside restaurants in the hills of Lucca to trendy beachside spots in Forte di Marmi. The trip enforced our vision that we wanted to create a comfortable social space for friends and family to gather, be it for a quick bite or for a long meal.”
To complete the family’s vision and develop the concept for the new interior and exterior, La Toscana hired San Francisco architectural firm Tecta Associates. “Our architect, Ahmad Mohazab, and his team at Tecta were amazing to work with,” the brother and sister team, Michael and Laura. “They took the time to understand our vision and make it a reality.” For the build out, La Toscana hired local Marin County contractor Schalich Brothers Construction and Painting contractor, Kunst Brothers. “They did a phenomenal job and worked with us to keep the restaurant open during the renovation, which took 10 months,” says Marilyn. “We are very happy with the results. We now have the quintessential Italian ristorante and bar my late husband always wanted.”
About La Toscana
La Toscana is a family owned and operated Italian restaurant and bar located in Marin County. It was established in 1985 by Paolo Mori, his wife, Marilyn, and Michele Quilici. The owners all grew up in Lucca, Italy and immigrated to the U.S. in the late 1950s. They wanted to create an atmosphere that reminded them of home – a place where locals would gather to eat, meet friends and family and celebrate with food and wine as every Italian family does. Chef and co— owner Giovanni Racanello joined La Toscana in 1986. Paolo and Marilyn’s daughter, Laura Mori Riella, and youngest son, Michael Mori, joined the La Toscana team in 1992 and 2002, respectively. Paolo loved to make people feel welcome and, just like all the Moris, enjoyed his food and wine and loved to see others do the same. This is the proud tradition that La Toscana carries on.