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Station Square Ristorante recognized in Wine Spectator’s 40th annual Restaurant Awards

The wine list isn’t the only thing that attracts customers to the local Italian eatery.

LIBERTY — Station Square Ristorante was recently named in Wine Spectator’s 40th annual Restaurant Awards. The local Italian eatery was the only Mahoning Valley restaurant recognized.

Station Square, 4250 Belmont Ave., has been serving the Mahoning Valley since 1986. Owner Ottavio Musumenci took ownership of the restaurant in 2001 and showed an interest in developing the restaurant’s wine program.

Now, Station Square has 450 bottles on the wine list.

Six years ago, Station Square hired sommelier and general manager Adam Zagotti to help boost wine sales and as a resource for guests. At the time, Zagotti was the only certified sommelier in the area.

Station Square has won 12 Wine Spectator awards, most under Zagotti’s direction.

According to Zagotti, Wine Spectator runs a “where to eat” edition once per year, and restaurants can submit their wine list for review. The magazine judges the wine list based on it’s diversity.

“We currently carry wine from the United States. Chile, Argentina, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Hungary [and Greece]. So that is definitely diverse.”

Zagotti said the Wine Spectator awards are categorized in three levels. First tier is the Award of Excellence, of which Station Square has seven. The second tier is the Best Of Award of Excellence, of which Station Square has three. According to Zagotti, the third tier awards are typically reserved for renowned resorts with an enormous inventory.

Wine Spectator also offers a GPS-based app that gives travelers restaurant suggestions on their route.

During his interview with Mahoning Matters, Zagotti pulled up the app's GPS feature on his cellphone and showed that Station Square was the only restaurant between the greater Cleveland and Pittsburgh areas featured on the app.

“[Wine Spectator does] features and columns about different types of wines, different wine regions, winemakers, wineries, vineyards, whatever, and then they tend to do reviews [with a points system] based on the score of zero to 100 — 100 being a perfect bottle of wine. Some of those do exist, and we have some of those on our list,” Zagotti added.

Station Square hosts regular wine events, like wine education seminars, that focus on specific topics such as a featured winemaker or specific winery. And once per month, Station Square does a wine tasting, some with small food pairings per wine and others with multiple entree options to choose from.

Also, the restaurant features three whites and three reds at retail price each Wednesday.

But the wine list isn’t the only thing that attracts customers to Station Square.

“We have an enormous menu. You could come here every night for two months and not repeat the same dish,” Zagotti said.

Station Square serves traditional Italian and Italian American fare, with a wide range of pasta, seafood and steak and chops dishes. Currently, the eatery is featuring a 40-ounce Tomahawk steak and flash fried zucchini blossoms from Musumenci’s garden. Zagotti also noted their wide collection of bourbons.

Additionally, Station Square sells its marinara, alla vodka and arrabbiata sauces by the jar.

In Zagotti’s opinion, the “secret recipe to success” over the past 20 years is loyal customers, quality food, knowledgeable staff and consistency.

”The real key is it has to be consistent. If you come back and order the same thing that you had last week, it better taste just like it did last week,” he said. “Because of our proximity to the interstate and all of the motels [we get] a lot of travelers, but a lot of repeat good customers have been coming for years.”

"We’re happy to be recognized [in Wine Spectator],” Musumenci added. “The nice thing about the wine list is we have something for everybody, from $15 bottles to $4,000 bottles. If you like sweet, sparkling or dry … there’s something for everybody.”

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