Please note: “La Dolce Vita" was the original name of Pinocchio's.

Article from the Salisbury Post

Another Article from the Salisbury Post



The Restaurant : In May, 1999, Giuseppe Lopriore purchased Uncle Louie's Restaurant in Spencer, North Carolina, (where he had been chef for three years) and made it his own. “La Dolce Vita,” since renamed Pinocchio's, quickly became Rowan County's premiere home-cooked Italian restaurant, home to those who appreciate a delicious meal, quiet ambiance, fine wine, and home-town atmosphere. Giuseppe's talent for finding and preparing recipes from his native South Italy has become legend in these parts.  Come visit us and experience the magic for yourself!


Giuseppe Lopriore:Giuseppe made the decision to become a chef when he was in high school and heard about a traveling chef program. Since he liked to cook and liked to travel, it seemed like a winning combination to this all-A student; he graduated from cooking school in 1986. He then joined a company that sent him, for one-year assignments, to Libya, Ukraine, Iran, Great Britain, and Russia. While on break between assignments, Giuseppe’s friend, Mario, who was cooking at La Cava Restaurant in Salisbury, North Carolina, invited him to come to the U.S. for a “working” vacation.

Giuseppe reluctantly agreed and ended up becoming fully employed as a chef at La Cava. Two years later, he changed jobs to become a chef at Uncle Louie’s. By then, he’d found a wife and a life in the U.S. that he didn't want to leave. Ultimately, the purchase of the restaurant was a dream come true, as Giuseppe had always wanted to own his own business.

Giuseppe appreciated a stretch of bachelorhood, his life having been enhanced by a daughter, Kayla, who is now a grown up college student. However, his single state ended Sunday, February 14, 2010, when he and Tracy got married after six years of successful (business and personal) partnership!


Tracy Aitken: Tracy had been working behind the scenes for about a year when she and Giuseppe went into partnership together in January, 2005. Tracy brings with her over twenty years of restaurant management experience, and she hopes to use her skills in human relations, marketing, and organization to make Pinocchio's an even better place for customers to enjoy. Tracy enjoyed single parenthood for quite a while, raising and homeschooling her three boys, Kaine, Kevin, and Kerry, who are all now grown men, but the Valentine's Day wedding started a new phase of marital bliss for her as well! Tracy's favorite thing to do is read books.

Charlotte Observer

Charlotte Observer, The (NC)

February 1, 2002




Edition: ONE-THREE
Section: E+T
Page: 23E

Estimated printed pages: 2

Article Text:

In every town in Italy, there are restaurants that serve elegant food in a simple setting, so locals and visitors alike can enjoy the extraordinary in the ordinary: trattorias.

In Spencer (a few miles north of Salisbury), you can find a trattoria true to its Italian heritage - La Dolce Vita.

Giuseppe Lopriore, chef and owner, is from Conversano, a small town in southern Italy. Claudio Dare, maitre d', is from Milano (not Milan), a small town in northern Italy. Together, they assure a warm and friendly ambiance with a touch of comfortable sophistication.

Fellow diners may include families with small children to couples managing a romantic meal, and everything in between.

We have been for lunch and many dinners, but our favorite meal is Sunday brunch. At a recent one, we started with oysters casino, cooked on the half-shell with diced tomato and bacon - delicate, but full of flavor. Shrimp and grits were served on a huge st! oneware plate with fresh green beans and quartered new potatoes. Eggplant parmesan had layers and layers of succulent eggplant among a few layers of pasta: the flavor of the eggplant was subtle but present in every bite. Mussels were marvelous, both in a white wine sauce teeming with fresh-cut garlic and a marinara notable for fresh diced tomatoes.

We regularly combine meals at La Dolce Vita with visits to the N.C. Transportation Museum. If you have children, or are interested in trains, planes and trucks, the museum offers a unique perspective on how our region has evolved.


La Dolce Vita, 518 S. Salisbury Ave., Spencer. (704) 636-8891.