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5 Questions: Damien and Gina of Tuccio’s Italian Restaurant in Woodland Hills

Damien and Gina Shields opened Tuccio’s Italian Restaurant with an aim to create a destination for fans of intricately crafted Italian dishes. Executive Chef Gavin Humes, formerly of Saddle Peak Lodge and Inn of the Seventh Ray, is a master at making organically home-made Italian dishes from scratch.

Gina and Damien Shields of Tuccio's in Woodland HillsTuccio’s, which opened in December of 2016, seats 144 inside and 60 on the patio is in the the heart of Warner Center in Woodland Hills. “We live in Woodland Hills and love the area,” shares Damien. “We feel that with all the planned developments and the business district, mixed with the locals, it offers a huge demographic of potential guests to come dine with us and hopefully we can make them regulars.”

Damien and Gina took time out of their busy schedules to answer five questions for SFVMedia.com:

Broccoli "steak" at Tuccio's

Broccoli “steak” at Tuccio’s

1/ What made you and Gina decide to open Tuccio’s in Woodland Hills? Gina is Italian and I’m Irish, we met in Los Angeles and married. We were looking for a location to create a menu and an atmosphere we felt was not available in the San Fernando Valley. There is an old Irish saying by W.B. Yeats: “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t met.” This is the basis of what we want to create at Tuccio’s. To create a destination restaurant where people in the Valley can sit, relax and enjoy great food, great conversation and have a sense of being truly welcome and appreciated. We are so focused on creating unique dishes and seeking a wow factor in everything we do. We are a scratch kitchen and our guests are coming back because of what we offer on a daily basis.

2/ What’s the statement you’re trying to make? What’s the ambiance you’re hoping to create?  Our vision for the menu is to create a unique take on the Italian fare, by this we mean making everything in house, and combining ingredients in a way that is original and ultimately appealing to our guests. We have a roasted acorn squash dish that has become so popular that we always sell out. And our broccoli “steak” is a huge conversation piece. We want people to leave with a sense of enjoyment that derives from the equal parts of what we are trying to achieve, which is to offer:

  • a seasonal menu full of amazing dishes.
  • service that is more conversational and menu-educational so we make a real connection with guests through food and wine pairings, while making a genuine effort to reach our guests on a personal level.
  • some great live music acts to make dining out on the weekends that much more special and entertaining.
  • a local restaurant that people want to come to because its a home away from home.

Angolotti

Wild boar ragu

3/ When and where did you get your interest in food? I think we both grew up in homes that were scratch kitchens in a sense, our mothers never opened cans of processed food, we always had freshly made dinners every day, like homemade soups, breads, and desserts. The flavors of hand-prepared food is like nothing else! Italian food is so appealing to the majority of food lovers that we wanted to use this as our base program and build on that. Our most popular dish at Tuccio’s is our handmade Pappardelle with wild boar ragu, it’s crazy good!

Tuccio’s Executive Chef Gavin Humes

4/ Who is the Executive Chef and what are some of Tuccio’s signature dishes? Our Executive Chef is Gavin Humes, a California native, who made his most recent mark as the head chef at Inn of the seventh ray and Saddle Peak. Gavin has an incredible mind for creating new dishes that combine ingredients in a way that our guests would not expect and the end result is a taste and flavor that has people coming back to try everything else on the menu. Some of our signature dishes are the wild boar ragu as mentioned earlier, our broccoli steak, the agnolotti, brown butter, sage, hazelnuts, pomegranate, apple is very popular, and both the farrotto, truffle, roasted wild mushrooms, pecorino romano, fresh herbs and the risotto, butternut squash, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin seed oil, parmigiano have become standards already. We also have a different amuse bouche every night that people love. Our crispy brussels sprouts with colatura, lemon, basil, chile are probably the best in town!

5/ What’s the best thing about living and working in the Valley? We’ve lived in the Valley for 10 years now and we have a huge community of family and friends. We love Woodland Hills — you have everything you need within three square miles, and I mean everything you need to have a great happy life. Plus the weather is so much better than Ireland! Although the Guinness is one thing I miss about Dublin, I have it on tap at Tuccio’s, and it’s as good as you can get!

 

Tuccio’s Italian Restaurant information:
21550 OXNARD ST., SUITE 125
WOODLAND HILLS, CA 91367
(818) 888-4514

Open Mon – Thurs from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. / Fri 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. / Sat 5 p.m. – 11 p.m. / Sun 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mon – Fri: Lunch served 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. / Dinner served 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday Dinner served 5 p.m. – 10 p.m. – live music from 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.
Sunday: Sunday Brunch with Live Jazz 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Happy Hour: Mon – Fri from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. – 25% discount on all drinks across the bar!

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  • Ned Goldstein

    Sounds yummy.

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