Fresno Italian restaurant Ovidio is a family affair, run by the Paolilli family since 1979. Photo via Ovidio's Facebook page
Written by Frank Lopez
A longtime eatery in Fresno is celebrating a milestone anniversary, and is inviting the public to help with the celebration.
Ovidio Ristorante Italiano, on Bullard and Marks avenues, is celebrating its 40th year in business at the same location.
The restaurant is inviting the community to celebrate with buffet style hosted appetizers and drinks Thursday evening.
All month long, the restaurant will be offering its 1979 menu, featuring three-course meals for $19.79 to celebrate the year Ovidio opened. The restaurant expanded by adding a banquet room, which can comfortably sit 80 guests, in 1999. That expansion will also be celebrated for its 20-year anniversary.
The 1979 menu will include the first course of a house salad or minestrone soup, restaurant favorite entrees such as Scampi Alla Franco (named after founder Frank Paolilli), chicken parmesean or baked lasagna, with a choice of spumoni ice cream or a cannoli.
Manager Rocco Paolilli said that the 1979 menu is a show of thanks to the community that has kept them in business for four decades.
“We’re very proud and humbled too,” Rocco said. “We are very grateful for the great people of the Central Valley, for their support and their loyalty and patronage to our restaurant for 40 years. We will continue to give the best product, the best service — all that we can give.”
Frank and Virginia Paolilli, and their family, started Ovidio in 1979. To this day, it is still a family run restaurant with their son Rocco and daughter Joanna at the managerial helm.
The Paolillis are related to the DiCiccos, founders of Di Cicco’s Italian Restaurant, and the LaRocca family, who run the FIVE Restaurant. Frank and Virginia worked in their restaurants until they decided to branch off on their own.
Ovidio prides itself on its family recipes and the use of locally sourced ingredients, as well as ones imported from Italy.
“We want to continue serving and do the best we can do,” Rocco said. “Bring the best quality and traditional Italian cuisine to the Central Valley and stay focused and keep working. We look forward to serving the Central Valley for the next 40 years.”