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Ciro & Sal’s began its humble beginnings in 1953 in the quaint town of Provincetown, Massachusetts. What evolved into a local gathering place for artists and would-be chefs began as a humble sandwich shop co-owned and run by two local artists, Ciro Cozzi and Sal Del Deo. Sixty five years later, it still remains one of Cape Cod’s most beloved establishments where locals and visitors are welcome to indulge in deliciously decadent Italian dishes while sipping on wine and enjoying each other’s company. 

At first sight, one can immediately sense that the dining experience at Ciro’s and Sal’s will be unlike any other. It is located down an alley that could easily be mistaken for a charming crushed shell entrance to a Cape Cod home. The restaurant’s iconic sign hanging from a white wood post on Commercial street steers you down the alleyway where you notice vintage inspired marquee letters spelling out the restaurant’s name, illuminated against the white wooden gateway. Behind the gate is a lush garden oasis beckoning you to enter. Potted plants and flowers line your steps, as you walk up to the gazebo where guests can dine on a warm summer evening under the canopy of darkness.

Romantically lit by the moon and with strings of outdoor lights woven between the trees above. As you enter the front door of the restaurant you can already sense that this will not be your typical restaurant experience.

Walking into the wine cellar dining room, the interior is warmly lit with exposed wood beamed ceilings and brick walls. Aromas of roasted garlic and sautéed seafood flood the air. There are straw clad canisters of Chianti bottles hanging from the rafters and the beams interspersed throughout the restaurant. The fireplace illuminates the room, evoking a cozy vibe, signaling the guests to unwind, relax, and enjoy the feeling of coming home. 

The heart of a restaurant is in its ability to tell its story through its food and drinks. Diners repeatedly give high marks to dishes like Ostriche Giannini (Wellfleet oysters baked with pesto and parmigiana), Bruschetta (roasted eggplant, tomatoes and mozzarella on homemade pesto bread) and Calamari (fresh and locally caught). Their pasta is cooked perfectly al dente with the Carbonara and the garlic infused Vongole Bianco ranked as favorites. The restaurant’s signature sauce is SUGO which is a thick basil seasoned Italian red sauce having a gravy-like consistency. It serves as the base for their traditional Italian dishes such as the Veal Parmigiana, Lasagna and for their simpler pasta offerings like the Salsiccia and Polpete. Their seafood selection is always top notch as the restaurant’s close proximity to the sea ensures the freshness of each dish. To round out the dining experience, Ciro & Sal’s wine selection provides options from the various regions of Italy along with a sprinkling of French, California and Argentina offerings. 

A new addition to Ciro & Sal’s is the wine bar tucked away upstairs, above the hustle and bustle of the busy dining room. The dimmed pendant lights set against the dark wood gives the space warmth and depth, evoking a sense of intimacy, much like a secret hideaway. Here one can quietly enjoy a sampling of wine flights and antipasti while unwinding from their day. 

The current owner, Larry Luster, built his life from the ground up at Ciro & Sal’s. In the 1960’s he visited Provincetown from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Larry was hired as a dishwasher and connected with Ciro who began mentoring him, giving him a job that year and every summer thereafter. He started his tenure in the kitchen, eventually working his way to the front of of the house, becoming a highly requested server. During the day, he worked as the prep chef, making all of the sauces and base stocks from scratch, as well as the preparation of the produce and the meat for the evening’s dinner service.

Larry makes it his mission to ensure the quality and integrity of each dish on the menu and oversees every detail in the kitchen with a watchful eye. He is hands- on with every operation, from dicing the vegetables for the minestrone, to breaking down a whole cow leg each week, as well as preparing the restaurant’s renowned dishes like Bolognese and Philomena from scratch. His son Caleb now serves as the head chef while his son Zach runs the front of the house, establishing rapport with the local community, building relationships with those who have visited the restaurant over the decades as well as customer who are just passing through town on their holiday.

Ciro & Sal’s is truly a gem in Provincetown, not just because of its longstanding history as being the mainstay of delicious northern Italian cuisine, but also because it gives back to those in need. Since 2014, for each party that dines at the restaurant, a box of pasta is donated to shelters and soup kitchens in the area. Under Ciro & Sal’s One Meal at a Time program, the restaurant donates twice a year to local organizations to help feed people in need and to also build awareness that not everybody has the means or access to a warm, nourishing meal.

Over the years, Ciro & Sal’s has thrived, with lines consistently out the door. Loyal customers have been journeying to the restaurant for decades, bringing their families together to experience old world Italy, continuing the tradition by introducing the younger generation to its charming evocative setting. Ciro & Sal’s has always been family run and owned, and the heart and soul of its family is what has helped this gem of a restaurant endure the test of time. 


© 2024 Ciro & Sal's. All Rights Reserved.

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