Food and Wine in Mentor, OH

Molinari’s Story

How we started our restaurant

Located in the Mentor Corners Shopping Center at 8900 Mentor Avenue, Molinari’s opened in August of 1991 as a Specialty Food and Wine Store. Chef/Owner Randal Johnson, a veteran of restaurants, clubs and hotel dining, wanted to escape the nights and weekends that The Restaurant business required, but still yearned to practice his craft and stay involved in food and wine. The Market seemed like the perfect opportunity to do just that. Hundreds of fine wines, thousands of specialty food items and creative upscale prepared foods would keep the chef busy but still enable him to enjoy his young family.

Cooking classes were added to the offerings of Molinari’s Food and Wine, much to the delight of local foodies. “You should open a restaurant here,” Chef Randal repeatedly heard, but he wanted no part of the 16 hour days that required. The requests kept coming and at one of the cooking classes a young man named George Marko said he was an architect and observed that it would be simple to drop a small restaurant into the midst of the specialty food and wine store. Marko’s classmate, Mike Steffalino, added that he was a contractor and could build the space in no time. The three started planning and a few short months later Molinari’s The Restaurant was born. Thank you for visiting our website and we hope you’ll visit our restaurant.