Bertolone family opening new Helena restaurant

Fans of Alabaster’s Joe’s Italian restaurant will have a new culinary offering in a few weeks, as Joe’s producer is opening a new restaurant in Helena.

Michael Bertolone and his wife, Cynthia, said they plan to open Lucia’s Italian restaurant in late April or early May. The restaurant, which is named after the couple’s daughter, will be at 100 Brook Drive off Shelby County 52 in Helena.

Michael Bertolone is the son of Joe’s Italian owner Joe Bertolone, and is the producer at his father’s restaurant.

Michael said he and his wife have considered opening the new restaurant for several years.

“My wife actually works in Bessemer, and she noticed the vacant spot in the shopping center off Highway 52,” Michael said. “We have always liked Helena, and thought it would be a great place to open the restaurant.

“We looked at other places, but Helena had something the other cities didn’t. I guess quaint would be the right word,” Michael added.

Lucia’s Italian will have seating for about 100 people, and will feature a traditional Italian menu.

Although Lucia’s will share some menu items with Joe’s, the new restaurant will feature several items not offered by the Alabaster eatery.

“Our entrees will be traditional Italian dishes,” Michael said. “We’ll have manicotti, several chicken dishes, seafood items, pizza, a kid’s menu, quite a few appetizers and some of the same pastas that Joe’s has.”

Michael also praised Helena officials for working with his family to help bring the restaurant to the city.

“I’d like to thank Helena for being so supportive,” Michael said. “They have had great patience, because it has taken us a while to bring the restaurant here.”

For more information about Lucia’s Italian, visit Facebook.com and search for “Lucia’s Italian.”