AMERICANO GRILL Italian Bistro co-owners Raj Nouzari, left, and Denise Dorsett are ready to greet diners at the restaurant in Town Center in El Dorado Hills. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene


New restaurant combines Italian and American

By From page B5 | August 16, 2013

When it comes to Italian food, Raj Nouzari, co-owner and chef at the new Americano Grill Italian Bistro located in Town Center, knows best.

“Raj is an amazing cook. He makes incredible spaghetti and his Italian enchiladas and palermo are to die for,” said Denice Dorsett, Raj’s partner and friend.

Americano Grill Italian Bistro opened its doors on May 1 but Nouzari and Dorsett’s collaboration began long before that. Dorsett met Nouzari in 2007 when she was filling in for a friend who was a server at the Valencia Club, located in Penryn.

Nouzari owned the Valencia Club at that time and noticed Dorsett’s excellent people skills, and before long the match was made. The two signed on as partners and have been together ever since.

“We make a great team,” said Dorsett. “He likes to stay in the kitchen and I’m more of a people person, so it all works out.”

After leaving the Valencia Club in 2009, Nouzari and Dorsett opened Mooney’s Restaurant & Bar on East Bidwell, right across from the DMV in Folsom. Mooney’s did really well and was known for having the best burger in Folsom and beyond, but after the Palladio shopping center opened, business began to dwindle. The partners knew it was time to sell.

And that’s when the idea for Americano Grill Italian Bistro was born.

“Raj had seen this location in Town Center and really liked it,” said Dorsett. “Town Center needed an Italian restaurant, and that just happened to be one of Raj’s areas of expertise. It couldn’t have worked out better.”


Great food, great people

Customers at Americano Grill Italian Bistro are delighted by large portions, only the freshest of ingredients and friendly faces.

Nouzari goes to pick out his ingredients himself at a market in Sacramento every day and the restaurant grows its own herbs and tomatoes in season.

The restaurant also offers a bottomless mimosa brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day, where customers can get more than just Italian food. They can also order chicken fried steak, crab Benedict, fresh crab cakes, omelets, bacon and more.

“I am always amazed at Raj’s eggs,” said Dorsett. “Never do you see any brown on his eggs. His eggs are perfect. It’s unreal that he can make them that perfect every time.”

In addition to the excellent food, great customer service is a given at Americano Grill Italian Bistro. Dorsett has had people follow her all the way from the Valencia Club, and she and Raj even make Christmas dinner for a couple from New Castle every year.

“I genuinely love people and will go out of my way for my customers and won’t even tell them I’m doing it,” said Dorsett. “When I do something, I do it without any ulterior motive. That’s just the way I am.”

For more information about Americano Grill Italian Bistro or to find out restaurant hours call 916-934-0887.

Jessica Cyphers

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