San Francisco

Ravs Pasta Bringing Fast-Casual Italian Favorites To Fisherman's Wharf

Ravs Pasta, a new family-owned fast-casual restaurant, is opening in September in Fisherman's Wharf, offering homemade Italian dishes made from recipes handed down from the owner's grandparents.

Lisa and Rick Miller, who have a full-service Italian restaurant, Capisce?, near Lake Tahoe, are actually opening two Ravs locations: one at the Wharf (333 Jefferson St.) and one in Carson City, Nevada. Lisa Miller's family is from San Francisco; her mother, Suzanne, used to dance with the San Francisco Ballet when she was younger.

Miller has Italian roots: her maternal grandfather, Joseph Devincenzi, is from Genoa, and her maternal grandmother, Louise Pinza, hails from Lombardi. They lived in North Beach for "years and years," Miller said. "It’s just fun to be back in that area. Our roots are from there."

They were drawn back to the Bay Area because of the presence of family, and also because of San Francisco's year-round array of visitors. "We were really searching for somewhere that had constant traffic and people," Miller said. Her husband, Rick, was in town last October for Fleet Week and noticed the Sbarro's had closed and the space was for lease. "As soon as we saw that, we were on the phone."

Ravs' prices will be reasonable, but not dirt-cheap. The Millers plan to use high-quality ingredients, including many items imported from Italy, and a hand-crafted approach. "We hand-make all of our ravioli one by one," Miller said. "We don’t use a machine. Everything is from scratch; our sauces are all made from scratch."

Dishes should run roughly $6–$12, and will also include lasagna and other pastas. The restaurant's original ravioli is made with Italian sausage, but they'll mix things up with chili cheeseburger ravioli or even a turkey cranberry ravioli around the holidays.

"Our marinara sauce–we don’t call it sauce; we call it gravy," Miller said. "It’s a porcini and tomato-based gravy. It’s vegetarian." Some people don't believe it's meatless, she added, because of the rich flavor. They also make a sweet red marinara. For gluten-free and health-conscious diners, they offer "zughetti," spaghetti-style noodles made from yellow squash and zucchini "so it looks like and feels like you’re eating a pasta, but you’re eating a vegetable,“ Miller said. It's hugely popular at their Tahoe restaurant.

The Millers and three of their four children will "rotate through" the Ravs Pasta at the Wharf and their other two businesses; one of them always will be on-site. Hours are tentatively scheduled for 10:30am–11pm daily.


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