Gino’s brings variety to Port Orchard

The words on the menu are enough to whet the appetite: gnocchi, pomodoro, marsala, bolognese.

Throw in a waterfront location and the Olympic mountains as a backdrop, and the owners of Gino’s restaurant on Bay Street are banking on a winning combination.

“People said, ‘If only you were on the waterfront, if you had the view, the things you could do,’ ” said Gino Rivera, who also owns Gino’s Bistro in Federal Way. “So this is it. We have the food, we have the service, we have the atmosphere and we have the view. I think that’s a deadly combination altogether.”

Jason Enyeart, who manages the restaurant and also is Rivera’s brother-in-law, said boaters docked next to the restaurant as soon as it opened on July 5.

“I went to all the restaurants in Gig Harbor and Bremerton and I can’t find a better view than here,” Enyeart said. “We would like to bring a nice meal to everyone, something they can enjoy and something that is comfortable.”

Enyeart said the restaurant, which previously was Tweten’s Lighthouse, closed for three weeks for preparations. He said they painted the interior to make it “a little warmer” and reflect on the ambiance, and they also changed the menu to reflect the new ownership.

And with two firepits and 10 tables outside, diners can choose from two settings.

It’s clearly paying off.

“We’ve already had customers that have been back two, three times already,” Enyeart said. “They’re really loving it so far.”

There are separate menus for lunch and dinner, although the dinner menu incorporates several items from lunch. Both offer a variety of salads, pasta and pizza. The lunch menu includes sandwiches, while the dinner features chicken and veal, steak and seafood courses.

“Somebody can’t come in and say they can’t find anything they like because there’s a little something for everybody,” Rivera said. “It’s eclectic.”

Rivera, who also serves as a chef in the restaurant, calls the $18 pear ravioli the “signature item” for dinner. The pasta is cooked in a marsala gorgonzola cream sauce with roasted onion, walnuts and sun-dried cranberries.

Gino’s also is known for its meat sauce, which is served over capellini ($15) and the steak sandwich on the lunch menu ($12).

“Everything we make is from scratch,” he said. “Nothing is brought in from other places.”

And that includes the behind the scenes, too. In addition to taking pride in the restaurant’s offerings, both are proud of their working relationship.

“Gino is a genius in the kitchen so I’m just trying to do the best I can on the outside and bring up the level of service ... the menu items, the portions,” Enyeart said. “I’m really trying to match his quality of food. He set the bar high.

“It goes both ways,” Rivera added. “It makes my job easier to know I don’t have to worry about up front. He’s got that. It’s a nice team we have here.”

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