Our Story

Paolo's History

Paolo's started as a dream - when he was only 8 years old, Paul knew he wanted to be a chef! Fortunately, Paul had a training program readily available - his Italian mother to cook with at home and his father to show him the restaurant business as the owner of the Golden Steer Restaurant in Kent.

Paul worked hard to achieve his goal, and in 1989, Paul's parents, Don and Darlene Raftis, were ready to sell their burger place, the Bum Steer. Paul jumped at the chance to buy it and transform it into the Italian restaurant he had long wanted to own. But before the 6-month closure for remodeling, Paul spent a summer travelling through Europe. He experienced as much Italian food and culture as possible, collecting recipe ideas and a sense of the Italian passion for food, wine and hospitality that he wanted to re-create at Paolo's.
On October 1st, 1990, Paolo's officially opened its doors. The beginning years were hectic, with Paul often leaving the restaurant as the sun came up and returning a few hours later to work the lunch shift!

Over the years, Paolo's has continued to evolve. The deli was replaced with a dining counter, the linen tablecloths gave way to casual vinyl and then to rustic wood, and a children's menu was added. In 2005, Paolo's received an extensive interior remodel, giving it a more Tuscan feel. Most recently in 2017 Paolo's updated it's look with new flooring, paint, tabletops and window treatments. Reflecting a clean modern aesthetic and the authentic Italian style of his cooking.

Throughout the years, the heart of Paolo's has remained Paul and his cooking. Paul's love of cooking shows in each dish he creates. If he could cook all day, with no phone calls, paperwork, ordering, staffing or cleaning, he would consider it a perfect day - well, maybe throw in a break for a Mariner's game, a long run, and family time with son Jordon and daughter Kaylene! Most of Paul's hours are joyfully spent in the kitchen preparing fresh mouth-watering meals for his guests. He loves the open kitchen because he can chat with guests as he works. He never tires of hearing "It smells so good in here!"

Catering, cooking classes, wine dinners and special holidy menus are just a few of the things Paul offers to his customers. Please say "hello" or wave to Paul when you come in. Paul is grateful to have such a wonderful and dedicated pastry chef, Judy Melbourne. The staff (many with 15+ years at Paolo's) enjoys meeting and getting to know the many wonderful customers and takes pride in serving them. Paul thanks each of you for choosing to dine at Paolo's.
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