Ricatoni's & City Hardware

In the early 90’s, with almost 24 years of restaurant expertise, Rick Elliott took a trip to Spain and found unique restaurants, nestled on cobblestone streets, in long, narrow buildings owned by families who poured their lives into perfecting and specializing in good food. After his experience he wanted to bring the same vision and character back to the Shoals and was inspired to create the popular Ricatoni’s Italian Grill that has been a Florence favorite since it opened its doors in the summer of 1996. The recipe for such a successful business over time has been great service, delicious food, and the ability to create a space that is unique and memorable.

Walking into Ricatoni’s is much like entering into a restaurant that could be found in Chicago, Boston, or New York—it has a warm, family atmosphere with maroon, leather booths, exposed brick, and a classic embossed ceiling—it feels as though you might find The Godfather himself sitting in the back eating meatballs and spaghetti. The menu is full of tasty options including Bruschette Ricatoni, Shrimp Pizza baked in a wood-burning oven custom made in Italy, Fetticuini Alfredo, or the popular Chicken Rictatoni topped with a creamy goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. The extensive wine menu serves superb Italian wine, the perfect accent to any meal. The authenticity, style, and quality food is what keeps loyal customers coming back and quickly wins over new residents. Ricatoni’s is the place to go if you’re looking for a true Florence experience.
After 16 years of success with Ricatoni’s—Rick, meticulous at his craft, decided to open another restaurant in January 2012: City Hardware—and was able to achieve success with his creative vision and extensive knowledge in the restaurant industry. The development of City Hardware was inspired by places such as New Orleans, Nashville and Oxford Mississippi, and also incorporates everything that’s good about Florence, including live music and Southern inspired food. There is an energy of sophisticated fun as soon as you walk through the door. Downstairs, cozy booths are accented by glowing lanterns and modern décor, including exposed ceilings, and unique lighting--while the upstairs brings the outside in with a screened in garage-style door that is opened on beautiful Alabama evenings. On Sunday mornings there is a Jazz brunch and throughout the week often times live music can be heard floating out of the upstairs window and into the streets. 

It’s a place that celebrates good food, good music, and of course good drinks as well. The full bar upstairs has plenty of seating and serves a wide variety of craft beer such as Singin’ River, Good People, and Monday Night Brewery. And the menu has something for everyone to enjoy—start out with Table-side Guacamole, try the Crab Cake Sandwich, and finish it off with the famous Cast-iron Chocolate Chip Cookie and you will be more than satisfied. Other unforgettable Southern inspired dishes include the Fried Green Tomato BLT, Shrimp and Grits, and the delicious Pecan-Crusted Catfish. It’s an ideal spot for a fun date night out or to take the whole family for a meal that will satisfy everyone at the table.

Originally from Oklahoma, Rick has lived and worked across the United States in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Texas, and eventually settled down in Florence, Alabama because he “loves everything about it.” He loves the culture, living on the river, which supports his hobbies of boating and paddle boarding, but most of all he loves the mindset of the people, and their supportive nature of UNA and the downtown area. It’s true that the Shoals is an incredible place to live, play, and eat—and we are lucky to have Rick Elliott here who has been such a major contributor to the Florence experience through his restaurants that bring even more life and culture to Court Street.


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