320 Rosemary Clooney Street
Dining at Caproni's Restaurant in Maysville is a wonderful experience. The fabulous food and scenic view of the Ohio River make this restaurant truly unique. Saxophonist David Hall frequently plays on Saturday evenings and adds to the relaxing ambience.
From The Ledger Independent - Kabler's Chatter: New managers at Caproni's Restaurant:
I recently visited with the new managers of Caproni's Restaurant on the river in historic Maysville.
There was so much to learn about Joel and Jessica Lavinder's wonderful backgrounds and experiences in the world of food preparation and management. The chef, Joel Lavinder presented four fabulous recipes for me to photograph and without a doubt these presentations were a work of art.
I remember when Lea Caproni was the owner of Caproni's and worked there every single day. She was Lea Marzetti of Ashland, married Alfred Caproni and purchased the restaurant in 1953. As long as I can remember the restaurant was packed and you waited in the front for a seat. There always was a family feeling there, well trained waitresses, friendly servers, great Italian recipes, and of course the family "secret" recipes, brought into this country from the province of Barga, Italy, homeland of the Marzetti and Caproni families.
Caproni's is under the ownership of Jerry Lundergan of Lexington, and when he purchased the property he had it completely renovated.
What impressed me most were the variety of foods available on the menu and each with a special touch of Chef Joel. This restaurant has become a favorite place for a great noontime buffet, a place for business luncheons, clubs to meet and dine, and a great place to have a special shower, wedding rehearsal dinner or reception. There is outdoor dining in the summer and a beautiful view of the river from the dining rooms.
Joel actually goes by "Jed" most of the time. The couple have two daughters, Elizabeth, 2 1/2 and Victoria who is 1. They met when he came from Portofino's Restaurant in Lexington where he was the sous chef and trained under Nat Tate. Nat was a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, one of the best culinary programs in the country. After college, Nat worked in Napa Valley under Chef Michael Chiarello before moving back home to be executive chef at Portofino. Jed worked under Tate for about 2 1/2 years before being transferred to Serafini, a casual, fine dining Italian restaurant in Frankfort to improve the quality of the food. That is how the couple met.
Jessica had been employed at Serafini two years when Jed transferred there. They worked together at Serafini for more than three years, where Jed was the chef and she was the manager.
Serafini is downtown on Broadway directly across from the Old State Capitol. It is located in an old drug store (the building is over 110 years old) and the restaurant is named after the original owners of the drugstore. Jessica had known Jerry Lundergan as he dined in the restaurant when he would be in Frankfort. Lundergan had purchased Caproni's and renovated the entire facility. In May of this year, Lundergan approached the Lavinders and asked them if they would consider moving to Maysville to manage Caproni’s. The Lavinders came to Maysville, looked at the restaurant, and drove around town looking at homes and neighborhoods. They thought the restaurant was beautiful and had one of the best views in Maysville. They also thought Maysville was a nice small town and a good place to raise their children. So they decided to make the move.
They moved and started work at Caproni’s in July. After talking with them I found they are excited to be here, have found the people to be warm and friendly, love the small town atmosphere and knew and appreciated the reputation of our local school district. All in all, everything was positive. Both of them are working many, many hours to make this restaurant successful. I wanted to feature some of their recipes and information about changes in the restaurant for you today.
A new dinner menu features a few of the items pictured with this article and they have kept some of the favorites, like spaghetti and meatballs and the Kentucky hot brown, but have made some new additions with grilled lamb chops and veal piccata. These are both going to be very popular. They also sell a lot of lasagna with the choice of marinara or meat sauce. Other favorites are the hand-breaded and deep fried catfish platter, a selection of certified Angus steaks, New York strip served with a Sicilian compound butter or the filet Caproni, a filet mignon stuffed with crab meat and topped with a port leek reduction.
The restaurant now has a nice lunch buffet and Jed has made many changes since taking over in July. It changes daily with different choices such as fried chicken, meatloaf, honey baked ham and chicken and dumplings.
On Sundays, the restaurant offers a brunch buffet along with prime rib or roast beef, fried chicken or fish, pasta, and many other entrees, as well as soup, salad and dessert.
The next holiday is Thanksgiving and the Lavinders will have a chance to shine with their expanded buffet which will include fresh carved country ham, honey baked ham and turkey with all of trimmings of mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, broccoli casserole, sweet potato soufflé, honey glazed carrots, creamed corn, cranberry relish, deviled eggs, seven layer salad, Jell-O molds, three bean salad and many more dishes. The desserts will be a real treat with homemade pumpkin and pecan pies as well as peach cobbler.
The Lavinders are already booking for the Christmas parties.
Caproni’s on the River is open Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.