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New Kittanning shops feature Italian dining, locally made wine

| Saturday, July 6, 2013, 1:31 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Amy Tolkacevic co-owner of Cake Concepts stands infront of the new store front at 136 N. McKean St. Friday July 5, 2013
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
The newly opened Villa Rosa Ristorante & Pizza along South Jefferson is operated by the Krasniqi family. Friday July 5, 2013
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Bottles of wine line the shelf at Pine Creek Winery's third store located at 123 N. McKean St., Kittanning. Friday July 5, 2013
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Cake Concepts Co-owner Amy Tolkacevic puts the finishing touches on a cake disigned to look like a Call of Duty play station. Friday july 5, 2013

KITTANNING – Several new businesses have sprung up in the borough within the last few weeks offering residents and visitors tasty choices in the way of Italian cuisine, wine, cakes and more.

The Villa Rosa Ristorante & Pizza

The new Italian restaurant at 325 S. Jefferson St. opened June 24 and has already attracted regular customers enticed by the Krasniqi family recipes.

During the lunch hour on Wednesday, the parking lot was packed with customers. Behind the register, Zana Krasniqi handed someone a job application.

“We've been so busy, so we're continuing to hire,” she said, adding that most of the wait staff are local residents. “We feel very blessed to be doing as well as we are doing.”

The Krasniqis, who are originally from Italy, offer a variety of dishes, including popular favorites like homemade lasagna and chicken marsala.

“Everything is fresh and homemade,” said Krasniqi. “We make our own sauce and dough – and all the pasta is homemade.”

Restaurant hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Everything on the menu is available for takeout. For more information, call 724-919-8547.

What could go better with Italian food than wine?

Several streets over, a new wine and gift shop opened within days of the Villa Rosa's opening.

Pine Creek Winery & Gift Shop

The new store at 123 N. McKean St. offers more than 30 flavors of locally produced wines ranging from dry to sweet and including anything in between.

Scott Conner, owner of the Mosgrove-based Pine Creek Winery, spent the past two months rewiring the building, redoing the plumbing, heating and air conditioning system and installing a granite-topped bar where customers can sample wine.

“We're off to a decent start,” said Conner, speaking of business at his new location. He also sells his product at the Mosgrove winery and in downtown Smicksburg, Indiana County.

Conner thinks it is a good sign to see other new businesses starting up in the borough.

“We have got to invest money in Kittanning,” he said.

Two of his signature wines — Jazzberry (a red raspberry and strawberry blend) and Black Diamond (made with Diamond variety grapes and blackberries) — are fast sellers.

“Black Diamond is a Pine Creek creation,” said Conner. “You won't find it anywhere else.”

Conner said customers love it so much many order it by the case.

There are also Rieslings, Merlots and Cabernet Sauvignon to sample, and Conner has plenty of suggestions for pairing wines with seasonal recipes and dishes.

His winery has a production capacity of about 3,000 gallons a season and can bottle 900 to 1,000 gallons a day.

Manager Melissa Stephens helps with the bottling process and oversees everything beyond that stage, said Conner.

“Melissa spent a lot of time to get this (new store) moving,” he said.

Although the store is open for business, a grand opening is planned for July 20.

Conner, who also owns Conner Plumbing-Heating & A/C in Templeton, maintains an office for that business at the back of the wine store on North McKean.

The store is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information, call 724-543-1011.

The building also shares a shop front with a tattoo store, which recently moved from Market Street to its new location at 125 N. McKean St.

Tattoo Fanatics

Business owner and tattoo artist Steve Lemmon said the business is doing well at its new location.

He and artist Wally Wright each have more than 10 years experience. The business specializes in tattoos and body piercings and sells T-shirts and jewelry.

For more information, call 724-525-4037.

Across the street, another new shop has opened, offering a perfect dessert option for those craving sweet treats.

Cake Concepts

The store, with its pink, cream and chocolate interior at 136 N. McKean St., opened June 19 and already word has spread about its delectable cupcakes and custom-made specialty cakes.

Co-owners Amy Tolkacevic and Felicia Bosman said two of their signature cupcakes – white almond raspberry and chocolate with peanut butter – are always a big hit with customers.

They have also introduced specialty cupcakes, like s'mores, banana split and Boston cream pie, which sell out fast.

The two met after signing up for a cake-decorating class more than two years ago at the Michaels craft store in Butler. They each developed a fan base among family and friends and eventually decided to combine their talents.

Tolkacevic's husband is a building contractor. He helped the women renovate the interior using secondhand and refurbished items and materials.

For the past two months, Bosman and Tolkacevic worked into the early hours of the morning getting their new space ready.

“We put our heart and soul into this,” said Tolkacevic.

Tolkacevic, who has two young children, said there were nights when her kids slept on the floor while she and Bosman worked.

Now, with a growing customer base and a shop front in town, the business partners are looking forward to the future, with plans to facilitate children's parties at which kids can make and decorate their own cakes.

The store is open Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, call 724-919-8635 or visit www.cakeconceptsllc.com.

Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303 or bbeatty@tribweb.com.

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