When you want lasagna in the Treasure Valley, there's really only one destination you need to know. It's been a couple of months since you could savor one of their take and bake lasagnas.
It's tough to say what Cucina di Paolo on Vista Avenue is best known for. There's no doubt that Paul and Mary Jean Wegner's lasagnas are second to none, but you can't miss the Boise icon perched above the restaurant's sign. That icon, of course, would be Betty the Washerwoman. She's been living on the Boise Bench since the 1950s when the property Cucina di Paolo now calls home was a Maytag Laundry.
The Wegner family inherited her when they moved into the building in 2007 and like clockwork, Paul would change her outfit every month. Last April, he dressed her in a Red Cross nurse's outfit to show support for the Treasure Valley's healthcare workers who were just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sadly, Paul passed away unexpectedly just days after his 60th birthday in October of 2020. Since then, MJ opened the restaurant on select days in December solely for sales of what was always meant to be the couple's final "Betty the Washwoman" calendar before the Wegners made a plan to exit their business and head toward retirement. The community's support of the calendar sale helped raise funds for the WCA.
In her letter to customers passing along the news of Paul's death, MJ explained that she and her family hoped to honor Paul's legacy and make him proud by getting back to their roots of selling take-out lasagnas, pot pies and her famous desserts.
That chapter for Cucina di Paolo began with their soft re-opening earlier this week. Moving forward, they'll be open Wednesday - Saturday from 11-7 and offering take and bake lasagnas, chicken pot pies, fresh cut salads and bread. MJ has also filled two deli cases full of sweet treats for the family! You can see her selection of cakes, pies, cheesecakes and more HERE.