In a masterpiece of mixed message restaurant language, it's been announced that Valter Nassi, the beloved/despised/dramatic/charming/eccentric and thoroughly Italian spirit behind Cucina Toscana, has decided to retire from the restaurant which has been identified with him for years. In her blog, Bite by Bite, Salt Lake Tribune's Kathy Stephenson reports that architect Ken Millo, owner of Cucina Toscana, said Nassi "has decided to retire rather than take on more responsibility."

Strangely, in the next sentence, Stephenson says that Nassi is planning to open a restaurant at 173 W. 300 South, in the old Metropolitan location.

So, not exactly a retirement, is it? Opening a rival restaurant a few blocks away? What does Millo mean? Sounds like there's a backstory to me...

Anyway, whatever the personal politics behind all the changes, Salt Lake diners will benefit.

Chef Elio Scanu, from Zucca Trattoria in Ogden will be in charge of the kitchen at Veloce, the casual Italian concept he's opening next to Cucina Toscana, where Tony Caputo's used to be. At this point like an expanded version of David Harries' super-successful Vinto: wood-fired pizzas and flatbreads, a dining bar, house-made gelato, desserts and espresso. Veloce will also serve rotisserie meats, carpaccio, crude, cheeses, but the price points at lunch are more in line with Vinto than Cucina Toscana. Besides Veloce and Cucina Toscana, Millo is also opening Caterina in Sugar House, with Jean-Louis Montecot in the kitchen.

Can't wait to see what kind of restaurant Valter is planning as his "retirement" project...