by Brian Lamar, Assignment Editor

Many Long Beach diners were saddened to learn that Joe’s Italian Ristorante had shuddered its doors and called it quits at the Klondyke location.

A new Italian game in town has sprung up. The owner’s name is Joe and they serve Italian food, but that is where the similarities begin and end. It ain’t Joe’s no mo!

Joe, the owner and head chef of the new La Vita Bella, grew up in Venice Italy. He runs a fast-paced kitchen and keeps his employees hopping. When his wife, who co-owns and manages the front-side of the house saw the social media rumors that Joe’s was closing, she alerted her husband and reached out to close the deal. They had been searching for the right place and the eatery on Klondyke seemed to fit the bill.

Now, La Vita Bella hosts a new menu, new staff, new decor, and a full bar. The new crew came in and redesigned for more table space.

They slimmed and trimmed the menu based on Joe’s market research of what would sell and what would not. The trimmed-down menu ensures that each item left behind on the menu is made fresh daily and is handcrafted by Joe himself to perfection.

So far, the restaurant has been open for a month. They have enjoyed getting acquainted with Long Beach residents.

They have had a full house every night with repeat customers, which is a better testament than even I can give you.

“I am so happy these people decided to invest in Long Beach. The food is delicious and the staff are fun,” said Sherine David, a Long Beach resident.

One of La Vita Bella’s sellout items was the stuffed mushrooms. They were a big hit immediately and La Vita Bella staffers couldn’t make them fast enough.

On my visit, I tried the Shrimp Napoleon. It is an amazing dish. The mix of flavors between the garlic, herbs, and lemon complement each other. The large fresh shrimp come from Quality Seafood daily and this is a light, fresh and tasty dish that truly does remind me of my time in Southern Italy where the seafood fare is prominent.

The shrimp were huge and the sauce left behind once the shrimp are gone is best sopped up with a fresh steaming batch of garlic knots.

When you are here you are really family. We like to have fun without guests too. Cards on tables that constantly change. Teaching Italian, little games. We learn everyone’s names.

During the week, Bella offers lunch options and discounts for teachers, first responders, health care workers, and military.

For now, La Vita Bella is only seating people at dinner time with a reservation. They plan to keep this model until more staff are hired.

To the management team, It isn’t about packing the house every night. It is about making sure that everyone who does get a seat at their table has an amazing experience.

Hours:

*Closed Monday

*Tuesday thru Thursday —11 a.m.-2 p.m. — 4 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

*Friday and Saturday: 111 a.m.-2 p.m. — 4 p.m. – 10 p.m.

*Sunday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.