Walter Munaretto has a long history in the restaurant and hospitality business around the world.
He has worked on cruise ships and at places in Italy and Florida. A number of Tulsa-area diners know him for his 20 years at the Summit Club, a private club downtown, where his titles included general manager.
Munaretto, his wife, Candi, and daughter Candice Sanders were preparing to open their own eatery, Little Venice Restaurant, in Sand Springs on April 1, but got derailed by COVID-19 restrictions.
“We were all ready to open and got shut down,” Candi said.
Candi said even with little name recognition and being in a small town, they offered a limited menu for curbside pickup until this week, when they were allowed to have dine-in customers again.
“We did pretty well with the takeout,” she said. “A lot of people know Walter. People came from Tulsa and even Grand Lake, and people in Sand Springs have supported us.”
The lunch and dinner menus are posted weekly on the Little Venice Facebook page.
“We will probably have three or four dishes stay on the menu, but the rest will change every week,” Walter said. “It will be as Italian as it can be. The food is mostly from northern Italy. It’s a lighter style. We won’t have pastas smothered with the big, heavy sauces.”
Little Venice is serving lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday and dinner only Saturday. A Sunday brunch will be added in the future.
This week’s lunch menu included antipasto, salads, soups and entrees such as lasagna al ragu di carne (lasagna with meat sauce), gamberi e linguini (shrimp linguini), vitello al coltello (sliced veal scaloppini with mushroom cream sauce and pasta), sogliola al vino bianco (Pacific sole with white wine, pasta and vegetables), and battuta di pollo alle erbe (herb-marinated grilled chicken breast with pasta and vegetables). Entrée prices ranged from $10 to $16.
The dinner menu was considerably more extensive. Entrée highlights included capesante e gamberi (scallops and large shrimp with linguini and arugula pesto), pappardelle Pomodoro (egg noodle pasta with tomato, mozzarella and basil), arrosto di maiale alla Toscana (roasted Tuscan pork with pasta and veggies), brasato di agnello con lenticchie (braised lamb loin with lentils and polenta), plus the veal scaloppini and Pacific sole. Entrees ranged from $12 to $22.
Joining Walter in the kitchen is Enrique Semeria, a co-worker for many years at the Summit Club.
Little Venice is located in an old building in downtown Sand Springs. Though it is a white tablecloth restaurant, the dining room has a comfortable ambience. The room includes a glass-covered, communal wooden table that seats eight to 10.
“It came from an old bar in Dallas,” Candi said. “Walter went down to pick up some stuff and drug it home. I didn’t know what we were going to do with it, but it fit our space here perfectly.”
Candi said when social distancing restrictions are lifted, she hopes to see the communal table filled with diners.
“If you sit there, it’s no telling who might end up sitting next to you,” she said. “I can see business deals being made there.”
Little Venice also has a private dining room that seats 14 to 16.
Candi said the reason is simple for locating their restaurant in Sand Springs.
“We live here,” she said. “Sand Springs is a wonderful little town.”