Richmond leaders celebrate grand opening for Lara’s Fine Dining

Richmond leaders celebrate grand opening for Lara’s Fine Dining
Richmond leaders gathered Thursday, March 12, 2020 to cut the ribbon on Lara's Fine Dining, which opened in mid-January at 1900 Esplanade Drive in Richmond. (Photos by Kathy Chouteau)

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond leaders helped Lara’s Fine Dining, which opened in January, celebrate its official grand opening Thursday.

The Italian restaurant, which occupies the former home of Salute Ristorante at 1900 Esplanade Dr. along the Richmond waterfront, bustling with business Thursday despite concern surrounding the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt and representatives from Sup. John Gioia’s and Assemblymember Buffy Wicks’ offices joined owner and restaurant namesake, Lara Choe, in the celebration at the restaurant’s front porch.

“This is the third and perhaps the best iteration of a restaurant in this location,” said Mayor Butt. “It has incredible views and it’s been a premier spot for people from Richmond and all over to come and meet and eat and greet each other and have fun for many, many years. Many of us have been here for many, many years and we’re so glad to see it back open again under a new name, new management and we look forward to great things.”

Richmond leaders celebrate grand opening for Lara’s Fine Dining“I thank Lara and her staff for providing another place in Richmond where residents and visitors can enjoy some of the best food we have to offer,” Mayor Butt added.

The mayor then presented Choe with a Certificate of Mayoral Excellence for her years of success operating Richmond restaurants, including one at the Hotel Mac.

Taking command of the front porch, Choe shared with the crowd how she came to Richmond after her “retirement” about 15 years ago.

“I happened to land in Richmond, and as soon as I came in as the Hotel Mac’s restaurant owner, I found out this is my home.” She went on to describe how she made it her mission to “lift up this beautiful city to let people know about it.”

Aside from uplifting Richmond, Choe said it’s also part of her plan to establish her beautiful restaurant at the Richmond Marina as “not only an eating place [but also an] institution for Richmond people. You can come in any time, for any meeting. Enjoy your view, your food and company.”

Choe was also honored Thursday with a certificate from Robert Rogers of County Supervisor John Gioia’s office; a Certificate of Recognition from Uche Uwahemu of Asm. Buffy Wick’s office; and a certificate from Rep. Mark DeSaulnier’s office, presented by Vivian Wong of Richmond Main Street Initiative.

The day’s speakers then accompanied Choe as she ceremoniously cut a ribbon stretched across the restaurant’s entrance to mark its official opening.

On the heels of the ribbon cutting, Choe and her staff did what they do best: treated their guests to fine hospitality in a beautiful event room overlooking the marina, complete with light refreshments.

Learn more about Lara’s Fine Dining here. To make a reservation, call 510.234.1860.