The Lucchesi name became synonymous with Italian food in Collierville in 1990 when Pat Lucchesi and his father Vince opened Lucchesi's Ravioli and Pasta Company. After selling his interest in that company more than a year ago, Pat opened Café Piazza by Pat Lucchesi July 12th.

The café sits in a circa-1912 house on the corner of Rowlett and Main across from Collierville's Historic Town Square. Lucchesi spent months remodeling and restoring the home. The original wood floors have been refinished and the original crown molding repainted. The restaurant features four fireplaces and three separate dining areas. In the front dining room, Lucchesi replaced the windows around the original front porch with French doors that open onto a view of the old train depot and the antique cannon across the street. A second dining room, in shades of yellow, offers a bright, casual atmosphere.

"It's like sitting in Grandma's living room, because that's what it is, really," says Lucchesi. "For the third dining room, we used stucco in a warm green color and stained the wood rafters mahogany and added solid mahogany tables and chairs for an old-world feel."

Café Piazza's menu offers specialty pizzas such as the "Portobello," a crispy thin crust piled high with mushrooms and red sauce or with toppings such as fresh goat cheese and pesto. The menu also features panini sandwiches and an assortment of fresh salads. Appetizers such as caprese tomatoes and brushetta are available. Lucchesi says the café's signature dessert is canoli cake. "It's a yellow cake with canoli filling, a cream-cheese icing, and pistachios," he says.

Lucchesi is serving only dinner for the first couple of weeks but will expand the hours to serve lunch soon. Café Piazza will be open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Café Piazza by Pat Lucchesi, 139 S. Rowlett, in Collierville (861-1999)

Mahmood Sawar and his wife Maria Guzman opened the first La Hacienda in Cordova seven years ago. Since that time, they have opened three Italian restaurants - Fino Villa, Cucchina Italiana in Collierville, and Soprano's in Olive Branch - and four more La Hacienda locations, including the one that opened in Oakland, Tennessee, July 2nd.

This location will be the first to offer breakfast, and Sawar hopes that it will be the first restaurant in Oakland to offer liquor by the drink. A liquor referendum passed last November, opening the community to opportunities to accept larger chains such as O'Charley's, which has also expressed interest in the area.

La Hacienda is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

La Hacienda, 7034 Hwy. 64 in Oakland (465-1505)

July is American Beer Month, and Boscos Squared will celebrate with several events throughout the month.

One ongoing event is the annual competition between Boscos locations in Memphis, Little Rock, and Nashville to see whose customers can drink the most beer. Currently, Nashville holds the title. On every weeknight in July at 6 p.m., Boscos will also give away two tickets to the Redbirds game on July 31st for "Midtown Appreciation Day."

On July 16th, Boscos will host a food and beer tasting from 2 to 4 p.m. Advance tickets, which cost $40, can be purchased at the restaurant or through the benefactor of the event, United Housing Inc. (UHI) at 51 N. Cooper.

UHI, founded by the United Way of the Mid-South in 1994, has assisted in the revitalization of about 600 homes in Memphis neighborhoods and offers educational support to homebuyers. UHI will also receive a portion of the sales of July's signature beer, "Boscos Blue Ribbon."

On July 26th, Boscos will host "American Beer Month Brewmaster's Beer Dinner," a five-course prix fixe meal at 6:45 p.m. The cost is $50 per person.

Boscos Squared, 2120 Madison Avenue (432-2222)

Hear Isaac Hayes talk about A new cookbook, Kidney Friendly Comfort Foods: A Collection of Recipes for Eating Well with Chronic Kidney Disease July 14th at The Peabody hotel. Hayes, who wrote the foreword for the cookbook, decided to turn his attention to an issue close to his heart since the death of his colleague and friend Barry White from kidney failure. The free event will take place from 6 to 8 p.m., and tickets are available by calling 1-866-220-4467. n

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