Twenty years into its operation, Ruffino Italian Cuisine has begun a new era of restaurant experience in Ahwatukee Foothills.

The journey of change began around Labor Day of last year and the restaurant made its last touches at the end of October 2010. It all began with a simple change in paint color and they decided that they wanted the atmosphere to be more modern and free flowing, which they found in Tuscan tan (and plus, what's more Italian than a paint called Tuscan?). They complemented this color by adding new carpet and lighting, which added to the intimate atmosphere.

To add to this experience, Steve Charron, who has been the owner for three years, added a change in the menu.

"We kicked around ideas about different menu ideas and finally decided on the perfect menu," he said.

Ultimately, 60 to 70 percent of it stayed the same, allowing for a number of new entrees and combinations. Two of the new main dishes are Lobster Capellini Carbonara and Caribbean Filet.

Charron feels like the new menu has been "well received by the residents of Ahwatukee."

With all these changes came a desire to enhance the actual dining experience by implementing a tableside service. With this service, guests can now watch their salad being made in front of their table, allowing for a more interactive and fun atmosphere, while maintaining the intimacy of the restaurant.

Though Ruffino Italian Cuisine, 4902 E. Warner Road, may look the same from the outside, it is a new restaurant and dining experience on the inside. Reach them at (480) 893-8544 or visit www.ruffinoaz.com.

Kimberly Haug is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a senior at Arizona State University.

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