Owner Jay Roush is not new to the Cedar Park restaurant scene. In 2014, he purchased Moonies Burger House, where he oversaw renovations and reworked the menu. When Gino’s was up for sale, he saw an opportunity to do the same.
Officially rebranded as Tuscano Italian Kitchen on Dec. 1, the restaurant’s appearance inside and out has changed, as has the food. The walls have been refinished; a private dining room has opened; and the bar has taken on a new look.
“It’s a much different place than it was,” Roush said. “The part of the job that I like the most is walking around the restaurant and seeing the people who have been here for a long time come in and say, ‘Wow.’”
Roush also refined the menu with a focus on upscale Italian cuisine with a Texas twist. Patrons will find items, such as the brisket bolognese—a traditional meat sauce with brisket slow braised in Chianti and marina sauce topped with shaved parmigiana tossed with fettuccini; or the “cowboy meatballs,” made with jalapenos, cheddar cheese and chipotle barbecue sauce.
“We want to have things that are completely unique that you just can’t get anywhere else,” Roush said. “We’re an Italian restaurant, and we always will be, ... but to have these little things that play on the food we eat as Texans is kind of a cool deal.”
When he took over the restaurant, Roush also wanted to add gluten-free options, different salad choices and more protein-forward dishes. The zoodles—zucchini noodles—have become a popular choice when choosing a pasta.
Roush hopes the ingredients he has brought into the kitchen will continue to bring locals to Tuscano.
“I want stuff that tastes the best—that is going to present well on the plate, and it’s going to make people want to come back here,” he said. “Things don’t come in a bag from a corporate kitchen somewhere. We’re making them all here, from bread on up.”
Italian eats, Texas twist
Tuscano Italian Kitchen replaced the former Gino’s Italian Cuisine after owner Jay Roush purchased the restaurant in July and rebranded it in December. The lunch and dinner spot aims to use quality ingredients to make a variety of Italian classics with a Southern spin.
- Fettuccini Laredo: jalapeno- and lime-infused Alfredo sauce with grilled chicken, garnished with cilantro and diced red pepper ($18)
- Chicken-fried steak Parmigiana: fried steak topped with marinara sauce and mozzarella, and served with a side of pasta ($20)
- Italian enchiladas: choice of grilled chicken or Italian sausage and chorizo nestled in a lasagna noodle, served in a creamy chipotle sauce and topped with mozzarella and tomato basil pico ($16)
- Tuscano signature pizza: braised brisket, cheddar cheese, jalapeno, onions and chipotle barbecue sauce ($17-$25)
1525 Cypress Creek Road, Cedar Park
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 5-9:30 p.m.; Sat. noon-9:30 p.m.; Sun. 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; closed Mon.