Richard E. Alexander, owner of Americas Best Value Inn on Arsenal Street, is opening an Italian restaurant next door this month at 1196 Arsenal St., the former India Palace restaurant.
Called Restaurante de Ricardo, the family restaurant will seat 45 people and feature imported pastas with an array of sauces, a salad bar and high-class wines. Mr. Alexander, who has owned a range of hotels and restaurants during his career, said the restaurant will cater to guests at hotels and families who are seeking a comfortable dining experience.
The building was renovated last fall, including the installation of floors, ceilings and a bar and upgrades to the kitchen, Mr. Alexander said. The restaurant will be staffed by five employees.
Its going to be a restaurant where families can bring their kids, he said, adding that children ages 8 and under will get a free dish of pasta. Its going to be a comfortable atmosphere for families to sit down and eat a nice dinner.
Mr. Alexander, 79, said several of his friends are surprised that hes still in the restaurant business. But after managing a handful of businesses over the last decade, he still feels like an entrepreneur at heart. He owned the Best Western Carriage House Inn from 1995 to 2010.
Some people think Im crazy for doing this, but I miss the restaurant business, he said, adding that opening an Italian restaurant has always been a goal. His parents were born in northern Italy, so he knows how to properly wine-and-dine Italian style. To add to the atmosphere, Italian paintings line the restaurants walls.
There are a lot of great restaurants in Watertown, but we think well have a niche here, he said.
The eatery will be open from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.