By Pamela Dozois

Contributing Writer


Rick Ramirez and Daniele Serra, the owners of Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez, have opened a new Italian restaurant in Solvang called Osteria Grappolo.

“We’ve been researching this building, formerly The Little Mermaid, for the past six years, staying in contact with the previous owners. When we heard about the building becoming available, I contacted the owners and by the second week of November 2018 we came to a verbal agreement. Discussions went back and forth until March 15, 2019, when agreements were solidified and we acquired the property,” Ramirez said.

“We opened Osteria Grappolo on May 6. The transition from old to new was easily accomplished, taking only seven weeks,” he added. “The reviews have been very positive and encouraging. Hours of operation may vary to accommodate our clientele.”

Ramirez and Serra have been friends for more than 17 years and have had other businesses together for the past eight years.

“We have been friends for 17 years and brothers-in-law for 15 years, so this new venture is a family affair,” said Ramirez. “It’s been our desire to open up a restaurant in Solvang, and I enjoy the operational aspect of a business as well.”

“Even though Osteria Grappolo in Solvang is under the umbrella of Trattoria Grappolo in Santa Ynez we are similar in our menu but yet different. As an example, Trattoria offers pizza and Osteria does not – we offer Paninis,” said Ramirez. “The dishes we offer on our menu are more oriented toward the Northern Italian style recipes, which is where Daniele was born and raised.”

Ramirez explained that, in Italy, the most expensive restaurants are referred to as Ristorante, then slightly below that are Trattoria and then Osteria, which is comparable to a bistro – delicious food, great atmosphere at reasonable prices.

“One of our goals is to have a blend of patrons who are local residents and tourists,” said Ramirez. “We want to serve the whole community.”

“We are fortunate to have many of the staff from the restaurant in Santa Ynez working in Osteria Grappolo,” said Ramirez. “I am enjoying getting to know them and grateful to have them working with us at this new restaurant in Solvang.”

“I am eternally grateful for Daniele’s experience and knowledge about the restaurant and wine industries and to be able to implement his expertise in the operation of Osteria Trattoria and be able to resource from his background and knowledge,” said Ramirez.

Originally from West Trenton, N.J., Ramirez moved to Brentwood in 1979 and lived in Morrow Bay for five years until he moved to Lompoc in 1993. Ramirez is married to Susie Sorensen Ramirez, who runs the Bit O’ Denmark Restaurant and The Vinhus in Solvang. The couple have been in the service industry as well as real estate agents in Solvang for many years. They have two grown children and reside in Lompoc.

Serra is married to Dianne Armstrong Serra. They have two daughters and reside in Buellton. Serra has been in the restaurant business since he arrived in the United States from Italy as a young man.

Osteria Grappolo, at 1546 Mission Drive in Solvang, is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

For more information, call 805-688-8281, visit or email