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Travel Through Regions of Italy Right on Your Plate at Rialto Restaurant and Bar

By Elisha Neubauer

When you stroll through Harvard Square, you'll find many, many unique shops, eateries, and businesses. There are events, fairs, and live music on occasion. So, it's only natural that a spot like this (one that attracts so many walks of life) would play home to an establishment like Rialto Restaurant and Bar. Offering seasonal menus from unique regions of Italy, Rialto is a one of a kind eatery.

Owned and operated by Chef Jody Adams, who scored a James Beard Award in 1997 for her work, the restaurant has blossomed from a fledgling to a full blown staple of the Harvard Square. Adams is the leading Chef and creator behind some of the most incredible dishes you'll find at Rialto, and is equally as big of a draw to the restaurant as the food itself.

Adams got her start in the restaurant industry in 1983 after completing a degree in Anthropology from Brown University. She set out immediately to launch her career in the cooking industry by securing a job at the Bostonian Hotel under Chef Lydia Shire.

Within three years, she had risen to Sous Chef, and helped kick off the opening of the Hamersley's Bistro alongside Gordon Hamersley himself. By 1990, she was an Executive Chef of Michela's in Cambridge. It was here that Adams began developing her reputation for well-executed regional menus that combined New England ingredients with Italian style, earning her the coveted "Best New Chef" award from Food & Wine Magazine.

In 1994, Adams decided to part ways with Michela's in order to follow her dreams and open her own establishment. Thus, Rialto was born. It didn't take long for the praises to start rolling in, the first appearing a mere four months after opening when the Boston Globe deemed them a Four Star Restaurant. Since then, the restaurant and Chef Adams have gone on to win several awards. Some of their recognition includes the James Beard Award in 1997, being named one of the best restaurants in the country by Esquire Magazine in 2007, and another four-star rating from Mobile Travel Guides.

When asked what makes their menu award-winningly special, Adams had this to say, "The menu is Italian and moves from region to region throughout the year. We have been in Umbria and are now moving to Lazio." The regional menu includes four courses and a regional wine pairing selection. "We love seeing how the cuisine changes from one region to the next," muses Adams. "It gives each menu a unique focus." Clearly, her patrons love the unique cuisine as well.

For those who may have a harder time selecting foods in mainstream establishments due to dietary restrictions or choices, Rialto has made to sure to incorporate something for everyone in their menu. "Yes, we always have many vegetarian dishes- salads, pastas and main courses," explains Adams. "They too change seasonally." She smiles, adding, "The spring my favorite time for vegetarian dishes with the market full of asparagus, peas, artichokes, greens, et cetera."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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