Giardino Neighborhood Cucina is a true family-owned and operated restaurant in Lemon Grove. Not only do owners Marco Provino and wife Karina Kravalis work in the restaurant, but they also live in the neighborhood. Provino helms the kitchen, while Kravalis runs the front of the house, with each taking the time to personally greet every guest that walks through the door. “We both come from hospitality backgrounds, and liked the appeal of a neighborhood restaurant that was away from the hustle and bustle of working downtown,” says Kravalis. “We also noticed there weren’t too many sit-down, family-style eateries in Lemon Grove, so we dove in!”
A labor or love, Provino and Kravalis built everything in the restaurant by hand, with little outside help. Provino built the tables and put up the exterior wood paneling, which transformed the space, and brought it to life. Kravalis handpicked the plates, glassware, décor, and her favorite vintage floral wallpaper from Italy. A small private room in the back of the restaurant, where the pasta is made, is also available for intimate events and celebrations. “The space feels cozy and welcoming, which is how we want everyone to feel,” says Kravalis .