Dishing it Up: Gasperetti’s

We have been so darn lucky to see many innovative new restaurants opening up in Yakima of late. But, in fact, we have been pretty lucky all along to have a few really stellar eateries here that have a history of serving the community. Gasperetti’s has been a Yakima restaurant institution for over 50 years and hopefully will remain with us for a good long time into the future for many more generations to enjoy.

The history of the Gasperetti restaurant family goes WAY back, 150 years they say, to Italy where they served one of the Popes a specialty meal prepared just for him, Chicken Cacciatore. Mario Gasperetti came to the U.S. in 1921 when he was only 19 years old, and in 1943, Mario and his wife, Minnie started Gasperetti’s restaurant in Union Gap. There they served the community delicious Italian food for 27 years, until they retired in 1960. John Gasperetti, their son, returned to the area in 1966 and opened the restaurant we all know today at the current location on North First street.

I recently enjoyed a lovely lunch there, and while the entrée salads offered looked tasty and were probably more figure-friendly, my eyes went straight for the pasta side of the menu. (Will I ever learn? Probably not.) Now I had to choose between the daily special, which sounded amazing, and the dishes that have become regular fan favorites. Tortellini, Spaghetti or Ravioli? Or what about Linguini with clams and prosciutto? That was it. No doubt about it. If I was going to have an authentic pasta dish, this was the one. And to make sure I was getting my daily amount of veggies, I ordered a nice side salad to make the meal complete.

What can I say? The last time I had Linguini with clams wasn’t all that long ago. It was one of my meals in Florence, Italy when I traveled there to spend time with my friend in Tuscany last summer. The pasta dish at Gasperetti’s was every bit as good as the one I relished in Italy, in fact, I think it was better! The clams were fresh and sweet, the pasta was cooked a spot-on al dente, the olive oil, garlic and cheese were added in the perfect amount to dress the pasta and the little bites of prosciutto gave the dish a wee bit of classic Italian saltiness. Absolutely delicious. The salad I ordered to accompany the meal was equally good. There is something about spicy arugula in a salad that just says Italian to me. This one was mixed with spinach and other greens and topped with crunchy radish slices. A little fresh ground pepper and the salad was magnifico!

The only thing missing from this meal was a nice glass of Italian white wine. Perhaps a crisp Orvieto, Suave or Verdicchio, but alas it was a work day and a cool iced tea would have to suffice, but not next time. I plan on coming for dinner and making this Italian meal complete — with Vino!