Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Spring Hill embraces Nina's Cucina, a cozy, fresh, affordable Italian restaurant

SPRING HILL

Tucked away in a small plaza on Kass Circle, the 50-seat Nina's Cucina doesn't boast a lot of elbow room. That's fine with owner and chef Tony Tomassi. He likes keeping things simple and efficient.

Indeed, when he was considering the character he wanted for his new Italian restaurant, Tomassi thought back to his days working in kitchens of the neighborhood bistros in his native Philadelphia, where diners packed themselves into tiny spaces to savor the chef's from-scratch creations and enjoy the camaraderie.

"Those were places that were fun and affordable," Tomassi said. "And most of them have been around for decades. That tells you something."

Tomassi, 36, admits that when he and his business partner, Eric Vicario, opened their establishment in March, they weren't aiming to create another authentic Italian eatery. Rather, the vision was based on serving lunch and dinner with a Philly flair and an emphasis on the use of fresh ingredients.

Tomassi, who learned his skills from an uncle trained in the culinary arts, said many of his recipes were handed down from family members. His recipe for cannoli ($4) came from his mom. The focaccia he bakes daily for the grilled chicken panini ($6) and tomato bruschetta ($5) smells just like it came from Grandma's oven.

In consideration of the flagging economy, Tomassi and Vicario said they have endeavored to hold down prices as best they can. Daily specials are a good value. Budget-conscious diners might consider trying the 14 Italian entrees offered in a three-course dinner deal (appetizer, entree and dessert) for $12.50 per person or $20 per couple.

Entrees include chicken marsala, penne alla vodka, chicken or eggplant Parmesan, mussels and spaghetti.

Although open only six months, Nina's Cucina has already earned an avid following, making reservations necessary for weekend dining.

Tomassi said a recent expansion included a small bar for those looking to grab a quick bite from the a la carte and tapas menu. Although beer and wine are available, diners can bring their own spirits for a $4 corkage fee.

"Our hope is that we're creating the kind of place that people will want to come to and stay for a while," Tomassi said. "We're looking to be here for a long while."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or lneill@sptimes.com.

.If you go

Nina's Cucina

Nina's Cucina is at 1427 Kass Circle, Spring Hill (behind Easy Money Pawn). Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday and Monday. Reservations are recommended weekdays and required on weekends. Call (352) 556-5286. Nina's Cucina is on Facebook.

About this feature

Diversions publishes a periodic feature called "What's Cooking," a look at some of Hernando County's favorite dining spots. We welcome recommendations from readers. If you have a place in mind for us to visit, please drop us a line at What's Cooking, Hernando Times, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville, FL 34613, or e-mail your suggestion to lneill@sptimes.com. Be sure to include the name and address of the restaurant and a brief description of what you like about it.

Spring Hill embraces Nina's Cucina, a cozy, fresh, affordable Italian restaurant 08/11/11 [Last modified: Thursday, August 11, 2011 4:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. First WannaCry, now cyberattack Petya spreads from Russia to Britain

    Business

    Computer systems from Russia to Britain were victims of an international cyberattack Tuesday in a hack that bore similarities to a recent one that crippled tens of thousands of machines worldwide.

    A computer screen cyberattack warning notice reportedly holding computer files to ransom, as part of a massive international cyberattack, at an office in Kiev, Ukraine, on Tuesday.  A new and highly virulent outbreak of malicious data-scrambling software appears to be causing mass disruption across Europe.
[Oleg Reshetnyak via AP]
  2. Pinellas sheriff's corporal had racist, sexist, pornographic content on his cell phone

    Public Safety

    LARGO — A Pinellas County sheriff's corporal resigned recently after an investigation into an alleged extramarital affair revealed a trove of racist, sexist and pornographic images on his personal cell phone.

    Shawn Pappas, 46, resigned as a training division corporal from the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office after an investigation revealed a trove of offensive images and videos on his phone. This photo was taken as a screenshot from one of the videos released by the Sheriff's Office that Pappas filmed while on duty. [Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  3. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine reflects on the news from the Congressional Budget Office analysis that could imperil GOP leaders' hopes of pushing their health care the plan through the chamber this week, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill in Washington. [AP photo]
  4. Review: Dan Auerbach, Benjamin Booker plumb the past for inspiration on new albums

    Music & Concerts

    It didn't take Benjamin Booker long to get lumped in with the greats. The Tampa-raised singer-songwriter's 2014 self-titled blues-punk debut brought widespread acclaim, not to mention an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman, a tour with Jack White and sessions with Mavis Staples.

    The cover of Benjamin Booker's new album "Witness." Credit: ATO Records
  5. Fourth of July in Tampa Bay: parades, hot dog parties, concerts and more things to do

    Events

    Looking for things to do on the Fourth of July in Tampa Bay? There is no shortage of patriotic events, from the Hot Dog Party concerts and eating contest in Tampa, to the parades in Land O' Lakes and Safety Harbor, to the swinging dance party at St. Petersburg's Museum of Fine arts, there's an abundance of things to do …

    The annual Independence Day parade in Brandon kicks off at 10 a.m. on July 4 at 101 E Lumsden Road. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times (2015)]