Come for the Food, Come for the Character: A Review by Carolina Epicurean

Apr 3, 2016

A Review by Carolina Epicurean

Scuttlebutt around town was cautious at best.

When a new guy shows up in a small North Carolina mountain town wearing pastel Miami suits, people take notice. When he somehow gets approval for new windows to be cut into a historic building, people start talking. When he installs hot pink, oval-backed, velour-upholstered chairs and Disneyish decor, heads start shaking. Consensus: he’ll never make it.

Renzo’s opened with little fanfare and folks began trickling in. Friends and I joked about who was going to go first and “take one for the team”.

Gradually word spread. Renzo himself is a bit of a character, but the food’s good!

Two friends who had braved the pink and wanted to go back for more convinced me to join them.

To my utter surprise, the space felt light, clean, and not as frou-frou as expected – even with the rainbow sparkle light pointed at the ceiling near the bar. I’m not even sure “kitchy” is applicable. Yes, a flat screen TV mounted over the door shows an Italian countryside and vista loop. And there’s a raised-platform booth with “Romeo & Juliet” signage. But somehow it works.

There has been some smart remodeling of the kitchen and service stations. Good pass through window on the side of the kitchen as well as a good-sized station along the wall. There are shelves. Not just trays on legs.

They were totally booked the night we went. Upstairs and down. About 40 downstairs and 3 large parties upstairs.

The following is taken from the email I sent to foodie friends, reporting back that not only did I take one for the team, there was no need to be afraid. I loved the food, they should go, and I’d go back with them.

Renzo’s Ristorante (502 N. Main St.) is open for dinner 5-10pm Tuesdays through Sundays; closed Mondays. To make reservations, call 828-551-7766 or go to See the menu here. Read the full review here.