Italy is Just Down the Street at Lombardi’s

Italy is Just Down the Street at Lombardi’s
Posted on 03/26/2018
An image of wood-fired pizza at Lombardi's Never fear, authentic Italian is here, at Lombardi’s Mill Creek.

Founded by Diane Symms and operated with her daughter Kerri Lonergan-Dreke, Lombardi’s is a local family-owned restaurant serving fresh seasonal dishes that feature quality ingredients. Inspired by the Lombardy region in Northern Italy, Lombardi’s was named after “Papa Lombardi,” the grandfather of the original chef. The first Lombardi’s restaurant opened in Ballard in July 1987, followed by Issaquah in 1990, Everett Marina in May 1998 and Mill Creek in September 2012.

When Symms first started in the restaurant business, there were few opportunities for women that could support a family. She started with a deli in 1970 and moved up to a full service restaurant in 1980. When she was offered a restaurant space in Ballard in 1987, she researched food trends and found that Italian was going to be the next “big thing.” Although corporate chains were beginning to expand, Seattle had few traditional Italian restaurants and Ballard was an unusual location choice, being predominantly Scandinavian. But the original location became a destination and Lombardi’s eventually expanded to Issaquah and Everett.

After losing the Ballard location to real estate redevelopment and closing the Issaquah location, Lombardi’s selected Mill Creek as their other location. According to Lonergan-Dreke, “we knew we wanted to buy our next property and be fully invested in the neighborhood, and Mill Creek was ideal because of all the residential growth.” Lonergan-Dreke has been in the restaurant business since she was tall enough to operate a meat slicer. She found the experience invaluable for instilling a work ethic and an understanding of the business.

Although the menus of both locations are similar, they do offer some variations. Each restaurant has a core menu of favorites, with seasonal menus rotated to take advantage of the freshest ingredients available. Salad dressings are all made fresh, and Lonergan-Dreke and her staff visit Italy occasionally for ideas to update and refresh the menu. For example, their pizzas are true Italian, made in the Napolitano-style with thin crusts and minimal ingredients.

Lombardi’s Mill Creek has a warm inviting atmosphere for an intimate date night or a rehearsal dinner party in the Fireside Room. Special events include Club W, a monthly wine club for women who love wine, food and friendship, as well as the Lombardi’s Spirits Society. Check the events calendar at the website, for all the details.

Lombardi’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 19409 Bothell Everett Hwy. Hours of operation are Sunday, Noon –9 p.m., Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.