Lakewood OH

Pleasing customer is key at Gusti Italian Grill

In the restaurant business, pleasing the customer is the key to success.

So, when Patrick Burns decided to open his first restaurant in Rocky River, he took into account his customers’ lifestyles and busy schedules, as well as the quality and pricing of his food.

Gusti, which means “taste” in Italian, is a new fast-casual dining spot in the Beachcliff Market Square. Burns describes the eatery as an “Italian Chipotle” concept.

Customers begin their meal selection by choosing an entree pasta, a piadina Tuscan flat bread wrap or a chopped salad bowl. Then they can add a grilled item, such as marinated steak or chicken, Italian sausage or meatballs, or grilled vegetables. Pasta sauces include classic marinara, spicy arrabiata and a delicious Alfredo, as well as cold pesto aioli, garlic aioli and red pepper aioli.

Salads are served with a variety of dressings and toppings like feta or bleu cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, peppadew peppers and kalamata olives. Meal cost is $6.95. Shrimp tossed in garlic butter with fresh tomato and basil is slightly more at $8.25. Gluten-free pasta is available.
Burns, a restaurant industry veteran with 37 years of management experience with Applebee’s, T.G.I. Friday’s and as a senior vice president with Red Robin, said the recipes are his own.

“You travel, you borrow from experience and you replicate,” he noted. “The average time a customer spends in a fast-casual restaurant is under 30 minutes. We accommodate people’s schedules with very fast service, and you get a ton of food and it’s quality food.”

In addition to entrees, the menu offers several soups and sides such as macaroni and cheese ($3.95), white bean salad ($2.95) and garlic bread sticks with sauce ($2.49). “Customers are raving about our lobster bisque,” Burns said.

He added that everything on the menu is prepared daily from scratch. Whenever possible, produce is sourced from local farms and all purveyors are local, keeping the business in Northeast Ohio. Burns said all proteins are free of hormones and antibiotics.

As a convenience, Gusti customers can go online to place their order in advance. If they prefer carryout to dining in, they can include the make and model of their vehicle with their order. The restaurant staff will begin preparing the meal 10 minutes prior to the slated arrival time, and they will deliver it to the car. Burns said he added this service for customers who do not want to get out of their car in rain or snow, or for busy moms with a carload of youngsters.
“We try to think about how we can enhance our customers’ lifestyles,” he noted.

Gusti Italian Grill is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Major credit cards are accepted. Gift cards are available. Phone 216-712-7791, or visit



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