FLINT TWP. — After 18 years as a tenant in the Lincor Park plaza at 2055 S. Linden Road, Ruggero’s Italian restaurant is preparing for a big move.
Plans are being finalized to move less than a mile away to the former Blue Collar Grill location (also longtime Bubba’s Roadside Inn) at 5311 Corunna Road.
“We thought it was a good opportunity,” said Susan Vallecorsa, one of five owners of the family-owned restaurant which has served the Flint area since 1958.
“We rent at this location (Linden Road) and we wanted to own the building. We were planning to renovate anyway and we thought we might as well just make a fresh start.”
The new building, at 10,000-square feet, is nearly twice as large as their current location.
But Vallecorsa strives to reassure customers that nothing will change except the location. Plans are to add a sports bar to the covered deck area at the new location, but Ruggero’s restaurant will remain intact right down to its menu, great service, cozy atmosphere, staff, kitchen equipment and 1974 seasonedpizza ovens, which are key to how its pizza turns out, she said.
Even the exterior building signs, fireplace, furnishings and fixtures will be moved to the new location during a carefully orchestrated 7-to-10-day transition.
The temporary closing dates to accommodate the move are not finalized yet, but will be announced in time to notify customers, Vallecorsa said.
When all is said and done, they hope to have the move completed by early August, she said.
A complete interior renovation has been under way since April and will feature a classic Tuscan Italian look with creamy textured walls, reupholstered booths and new carpeting.
“It will be warm and inviting,” said Mike Mondelli, one of the co-owners.
Repaving the parking lot, landscaping, and installing outdoor signage is being saved until the last so everything will look fresh and new when the restaurant reopens, and so that customers don’t get confused about which location is open, Vallecorsa said.
The new sports bar addition will have a separate entrance and be dubbed Vic’s Place, in honor or Vic Vallecorsa, Susan’s dad, who started the restaurant with his wife Velda some 55 years ago. The elderly couple are retired from day-to-day operations but still active owners, Vallecorsa said.
She, Mondelli, and Sharon Beaver are managing owners.
Vallecorsa added Ruggero’s will still offer a private banquet facility, catering service and full take-out in addition to dine-in service.