• Story by Catherine Hosman Photographs by JULIE NABOURS

Pignetti’s Italian Restaurant has been a Temple staple for 11 years. Owned by Clinton and Lydia Harwell, it is known for its fusion cuisine that blends traditional Italian with American, Hispanic and Spanish flavors. Chef Robert Hernandez said this blending of ethnic flavors elicits comments from guests like, “I didn’t know Italian could be like this.”

Pignetti’s menu ranges from the classic to the contemporary. Appetizers include tomato caprese salad, calamari and crab-stuffed mushrooms. Dinner items range from gnocchi to buffalo tenderloin, Nona’s ribeye lasagna to butternut squash ravioli.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and includes selections ranging from pork chops to grilled salmon scampi, and a local favorite, homemade Osso Bucco Ravioli with Romesco.

Hernandez has been the chef at Pignetti’s for more than two years and said he enjoys the ability to create meals that “make people happy.”

“We have an open kitchen which allows us to interact with guests,” he said. “Sometimes they stop by and give us ideas on how to do something different, like wrapping bacon around meatloaf.”

In addition to their regular daily menu, Pignetti’s offers monthly wine dinners featuring a local or national vineyard. On Wednesday nights, they offer wine tasting that pairs the appropriate wine with selected appetizers.

“Thursday nights are date night and we offer our bottled wines for sale at a retail price to take home and enjoy,” he said.

One of Chef Hernandez’s specialties is Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tuna with a Jalapeño Avacado Pesto. He shares the recipe with us here.


Pignetti’s is at 14 S. Second St., Temple.


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