Instead of sharing a bevy of links with you this week, I want you to click on just one. I’ve got something very important that I’m hoping you can do today…But before we get to that, here’s a little background.

You might not know that Cassandra LaValle of Coco+Kelley fame and I go way, way back. We’ve been close friends since the 6th grade! And while life has taken us to different cities and buried us in busy lives, there are still many things that keep us connected, one of which is Cassandra’s father’s restaurant in Seattle.

I grew up spending many evenings over piping hot bowls of pasta and the best red sauce I’ve ever had – all based on Cassandra’s father’s Southern Italian heritage. A night at “the restaurant” as we called it, was like going over to a friend’s house for dinner except the food was way better! The restaurant was one of the first places I took Chris when we started dating. It’s where all of our friends celebrated birthdays, new years and major milestones. And while it went through a few iterations over the last 20(!) years, even closing for awhile, when I heard Rudy {Cassandra’s dad} was reopening, this time in a lovely bistro-style spot {which Cassandra designed!} I couldn’t have been more excited.

Called Tinello {which means dining room in Italian} and located in the fast-growing historic Pinoeer Square neighborhood that is currently revitalizing the heart of downtown Seattle,  I made a sojourn to get my fix the very weekend the restaurant opened.


The space is just lovely. Filled with natural light, anchored by a gorgeous bar made of reclaimed wood and simply accented with jumbo white subway tile and retro light fixtures, I immediately felt right at home again – especially when the plate of meatballs was set down in front of me!

But as anyone in the restaurant business {or really any small business owner knows}, unexpected challenges can be make or break. Tinello has faced more than their fair share, the latest being a restaurant in New York City called il Tinello threatening to sue if the restaurant doesn’t change its name!

The costs of having to rebrand at only six months old would cause many businesses to just give up, but the heart and soul of Tinello is Rudy, Cassandra’s father, who just loves to bring people together – the great glass of wine and delicious dishes are simply an added bonus.

So Rudy is doing the bravest thing possible – asking for us to join him in building something we can all enjoy! Rudy is running a Kickstarter Campaign to take his lovely family restaurant to the next level and I couldn’t be more thrilled. What could feel better than being a part of something incredibly special? But don’t take my word for it – hear from Rudy himself! Check out this video:

If, like me, you’re passionate about food, passionate about building great neighborhoods and passionate about small, family-owned businesses succeeding then CLICK HERE and make a pledge. You could have a cocktail named after you when the restaurant gets its liquor license, or a jar of Rudy’s famous Red Sauce for you to take home. You could even have a night at the restaurant all to yourself! But better than all the freebies – what you’ll really get is knowing that you’re also part of a very special family. Tinello is SO close to meeting their goal, it would mean the world if we can all come together to not only meet it, but surpass it! Even a $10 pledge can make a difference.

I can’t imagine spending a weekend in Seattle and not having “the restaurant” be the first place I eat, but more importantly, the first place we gather our friends for a good ole fashioned catch up sesh. With your help, it’ll be there when you visit Seattle too – bigger and better than ever! Even if you don’t live in Seattle I know you can appreciate having that one place you can always rely on for a soul-warming meal. Once Rudy completes his campaign, maybe I’ll just have to head up and we’ll have a big ole party. If there’s one thing I know both Cassandra and I love, it’s bringing people together for a good time! The drinks will be on me!!


photography by Belathee and Blair Masri

What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. I am always a big fan of small businesses, especially food-related ones as a culinary student and aspiring restaurateur myself. Glad to help, hope I can visit the restaurant next time I’m in Seattle – beautiful city! xo