Mercer Island Mayor Bruce Bassett and Lisa and Rino Caruccio celebrate the opening of a new Mercer Island business, Caruccio’s, on Sept. 14. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Caruccio’s opens on Mercer Island after 18 months of dreaming, planning

Lisa Caruccio signed her “love letter to the community” with a flourish on Sept. 14, hosting a grand opening for her new culinary event center, Caruccio’s.

The business was a dream of Caruccio and her husband, Rino, born of a passion and respect for travel, food and family, especially Caruccio’s grandfather, an accomplished Italian chef.

It was also inspired by the community of Mercer Island, where the Caruccios have lived for about 10 years.

The space, designed and built in collaboration with fellow Islander Suzanne Zahr, is described as “New York meets Northwest.” It can be booked for parties, corporate meetings and events, receptions or formal dinners, and can also serve as a photography venue.

The centerpiece of Caruccio’s is its state of the art kitchen, which can be used for cultural and community events, including hands-on cooking classes and chef demonstrations.

During the soft opening weekend, guest chef Cindy Swain taught several cooking classes and hosted a pop-up dinner event, all featuring farro, an ancient Italian grain.

Caruccio had long dreamed of creating a space where food and hospitality could come together. When she drove by the “For Lease” sign of the space at 2411 76th Ave. SE about 18 months ago, she realized her dream could come true, and decided to work with Zahr to make it happen.

“This flexible, versatile venue will offer a sense of community, nostalgia, and memory making through its elegant but approachable finishes, lighting, and furnishings,” Zahr said in a press release. “Caruccio’s is designed to be a place to ‘Learn. Mingle. Share.’”

For more, see www.caruccios.com.

Lisa and Rino Caruccio pose before the ribbon cutting. Katie Metzger/staff photo

The view from the mezzanine of Caruccio’s during its grand opening on Sept. 14. Katie Metzger/staff photo

Caruccio’s celebrates its grand opening with food, fun and family. Katie Metzger/staff photo

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