Business

West Lynn Italian eatery attracting loyal patrons

LYNN – Frank Sinatra’s photograph is on the wall, along with one featuring the cast of the Sopranos. Tony Bennett’s smooth voice spills through the ceiling speakers. The appeasing menu features pasta fagioli, tortellini, bruschetta, chicken Marsala and veal Parmigiana. Chianti and Amarone highlight the wine list.But this restaurant with a clearly Mediterranean flavor isn’t in Boston’s North End, it’s in West Lynn, near the corner of Boston and Cottage streets, diagonally across from Sacred Heart Church.Old Tyme Italian Cuisine at 612 Boston St. opened for business in October and has been steadily gaining momentum as both neighborhood eatery and destination restaurant for discerning patrons from surrounding communities.It is the brainchild of Robert Stilian, a City Hall employee who for years dreamed of opening a restaurant with his late brother, George. “As young kids we always talked about how some day we’d open a restaurant and lounge,” said Stilian, 47, of Lynn, who has worked at the Parking Department for 14 years. “A week after my brother died, this place popped up.”That was eight years ago, when the building interior was in shambles, replete with a dirt floor in the rear.”I basically gutted the whole place,” said Stilian, explaining that the 240-seat establishment includes a main dining room decorated with distinctly Italian furnishings and artwork, a smaller dining room with a movie celebrity theme, and a sports bar lounge in the rear that features a Fenway Park mural, high-definition televisions and a wide assortment of quality beers – Guinness, Sam Adams, Harpoon, Ipswich, Land Shark, Long Hammer, Late Harvest, and many others.”The pictures and other artwork you see on the walls are some of the stuff I’ve been collecting over the past eight years. That’s how long I’ve been remodeling. I had them in storage.”Locals will perhaps recognize the address by its former commercial occupants. In the 1970s, Frank’s Sea Grill was the hot spot for locals looking for a night out with music, dining and dancing. Later the site became home of Danny Dean’s meat market, and until about three years ago when Diamond Catering occupied the front space.Stilian, who had already purchased the rear portion of the building where the sports bar is located, bought the remainder in December 2006. “I knocked out the wall between them to make one big restaurant,” he said, obviously proud of his accomplishment. “It has been a lot of hard work, but I enjoy it, and when my chefs agreed to come here, I knew everything was going to be fine.”Stilian was a longtime patron of Tonnino’s restaurant in Saugus. When the place changed hands last year, Stilian approached chef Armando De Leon and his cousin, Wilmar De Leon, with an offer they didn’t refuse. Six waitresses followed the chefs to the new job, a move Stilian refers to as the domino effect.”I call the main dining room Armando’s Kitchen, and the movie star dining room is Wilmar’s Room,” said Stilian, who claims the cousins from Guatemala can create Mediterranean dishes with the same flourish of the finest chefs. “They do everything from scratch, even make their own sausages and tiramisu. They’re very proud of what they do and they don’t like cutting corners. Everything has to be quality.”One recent day, the De Leons served a special of lobster tortellini with shrimp, but the home-style dish of sausage, vinegar peppers and roasted potatoes proved equally appealing.”We serve restaurant food in the lounge as well, but we’re working on a special pub menu,” said Stilian, noting that the restaurant lunch menu offers sandwiches and pasta dishes between $7 and $9, while the dinner fare is more sophisticated and slightly higher in price. “Our portions are good-sized. Most people end up taking some of the food home with them.”In the coming weeks, Stilian plans to install an awning that wraps around the front and side of the restaurant. “It will help enhance the neighborhood,” he said. “There’s nothing else like t

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