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New Italian restaurant coming to former Fionn MacCool's space

Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar hopes to open in July at 494 Edinburgh Rd.

A taste of regional Italian cuisine coming to Guelph in the form of growing GTA restaurant chain Scaddabush Italian Kitchen & Bar.

Scaddabush's target opening date is the second week of 494 Edinburgh Rd. S. where Fionn MacCools used to be.

This will be Scaddabush’s 13th location and its first in Guelph. Parent company Service Inspired Restaurant houses Scaddabush, Jack Astor’s Bar and Grill, and several other restaurants.

The Italian restaurant is known for its made-in-house fresh hand stretched mozzarella.

“I mean, it's worth the drive outside of Guelph right now just to even experience the hand stretched mozzarella,” said Anesie Johnson, vice-president of marketing and communications for Service Inspired Restaurants.

The company has been looking to expand outside its 10 GTA locations. “We’ve always had our eye on Guelph,” said Johnson. 

It’s been looking at cities with a close-knit sense of community where people who live and work there, want to try interesting food and dining experiences.

When the spot on Edinburgh opened up, Scaddabush jumped at the chance since it is close to Stone Road Mall and the University of Guelph.

Scaddabush has a following of a younger demographic and Johnson knows it will attract students in September. She used to live in Guelph for many years “so I do know that the people that live there full time … I think for the longest time they were dining outside of Guelph and looking for more interesting places to explore their culinary backgrounds, and just experiences.”

This is why she thinks Scaddabush is in a good position because it appeals to different demographics whether it be business lunches, students and families in the early evening or a late night crowd looking for beverages and pizza.

It isn’t an entry level Italian restaurant or a fine dining Italian restaurant. Scaddabush lands in a sweet spot in the middle of the two where you can have a casual bite to eat or celebrate a special occasion.

One of Johnson’s favourite dishes is the zucca ravioli with butternut squash, pear and brown butter Alfredo. Along with pasta the menu has wood-fired pizza like the Mario with prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. For dessert, traditional Italian fare like tiramisu, zeppole and gelato are on the menu. To drink there is sangria on tap, barrel-aged Negroni and Italian sodas. 

There are rotating feature dishes and “what we try to do is have almost a little bit of a taste of each region in Italy,” said Johnson. At other Scaddabush locations there is a taste of Piedmont menu. The northern Italian region is known for white truffle and the ingredient is featured in the restaurant’s dishes.

The menu development came from Gord Mackie, vice-president of culinary development for Service Inspired Restaurants. He spent time researching, looking for inspiration and authentic ingredients in Italy. Mike Cappiello, concept lead, will oversee the Guelph Scaddabush. He’s Italian, “So he's very well versed in nona’s dishes and authenticity,” said Johnson.