Four years ago, Al Menino had a vision.

He wanted to launch an artisan pizza shop in Mattapoisett, then slowly turn it into one of the Tri-Towns' best restaurants.

He soft-launched his pizza shop, then dabbled in the untapped Mattapoisett pizza delivery game a year later. By the summer of 2019, Menino was building momentum, opening the doors to the Rustico dining room.

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Popularity of the restaurant soared.

Suddenly, it was tough to get a table on a Thursday night. These are the types of problems restaurant owners dream of.

Then, six months later, the pandemic hit. We all know that story. Rustico eventually reopened, but properly staffing the restaurant became next to impossible.

"When will Rustico reopen?" became one of the most asked questions in Tri-Town.

Enter Jessica Moore. She is relatively new to the area, but her family has "roots" in Rochester's Jonathan Sprouts business.  As the new owner of Pub 6T5 in New Bedford, she also has some experience in the local restaurant scene.

Menino talked to Moore about buying Rustico.

"My initial reaction was, 'No way, I can't,'" Moore said. "I just bought a restaurant less than a year ago. This is too fast for me, but we started working together and when I first saw it I was in awe of how beautiful it is. So, I decided to make it happen."

Moore purchased Rustico with her Pub 6T5 partner Chad Thadeu.

Will Rustico See Changes?

The atmosphere of Rustico will remain the same, however the menu will broaden.

A new executive chef will be brought in from Tavern in the Square and is developing a new menu that will have an elevated, casual farm-to-table theme. You can also expect to see some of the Pub 6T5 favorites brought over to the Rustico menu, including the pub's burgers and short ribs.

One thing that will remain the same is Al Menino's smiling face.

"He's going to help us get to know everything and will stay on as long as we can keep him," said Moore.

When Will Rustico Reopen?

Moore says there are already plans in place for a Fourth of July weekend grand opening.

"This is faster than anticipated, but we're ready to grow," she said.

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