Restaurant Profile – Grazie Italian Restaurant
( sponsored ) To paraphrase late world-class chef and restaurateur Charlie Trotter, truly great restaurants need four elements in equal measure — cuisine, wine, service and ambiance. Trotter equated dining with a spiritual experience and he knew what he was talking about. Restaurant Magazine once named his Chicago restaurant one of the country’s five best.
Visit Grazie in Dracut, and you’ll find all four elements without leaving the Merrimack Valley. Prominently situated at the Four Oaks Country Club, an 18-hole championship golf course, you can’t miss Grazie unless the incredible views distract you as you drive through the club.
Open to the public, the Four Oaks Country Club is also home to the Oaks Bar & Grille, a casual restaurant with big-screen TVs and live music open for lunch and dinner. There’s also the Grand Oaks Ballroom, which hosts special events like weddings, corporate events and graduation celebrations for up to 260 people.
But, lest you too be distracted by the ambiance, services and views that the club offers, let’s return to Grazie.
Grazie impresses. At Grazie, with its open kitchen, you can watch the executive chef craft his Italian fine dining creations. Open seven days a week for dinner, Grazie offers a full menu. You can choose from appetizers like antipasto, beef carpaccio, and Italian-style calamari, or something more exotic like lamb lollipop Milanese. Or you could just go with the truffle Parmesan fries. It’d be hard to go wrong with those.
After appetizers, you move on to entrees like baby rack of lamb, filet mignon or house-made gnocchi alla Grazie. There are also chicken and seafood dishes. You can also opt for pizza, red or white Neapolitan-style.
“We imported the pizza oven from Italy,” Mike Kuenzler, owner of Grazie and Four Oaks Country Club, says. Indeed, the 100% wood-burning oven, from Naples, weighs some 6,000 pounds.
A Lowell native and Dracut resident with an impressive record in entrepreneurship, Kuenzler has been starting successful businesses since 1982. In his professional career, he’s found success in screen-printing, promotional products and landscaping. He’s also been in law enforcement and coached high school wrestling. He’s even poured foundations. But, when Kuenzler and his wife, Cindy, first saw this club, they saw opportunity.
Just a few years ago, the property was mired in bankruptcy, surrounded by bushes and weeds behind jersey barriers. The Kuenzlers dove in, bought the club and immediately began improving the grounds. They hired a horticulturalist to beautify the landscaping with annual and seasonal flowers and plants. They cleared the cart paths and fixed the bridges. They expanded Grazie.
What brought Kuenzler to the hospitality business? “My dad was a chef. And, for me, it started with an involvement with golf. There wasn’t any fine dining in the area. Italian food happened to be my favorite.” Kuenzler says.
And so Grazie was born. Through Grazie, Kuenzler shares his vision for fine Italian cuisine, bringing the feel of Boston-style fine dining north to the Merrimack Valley. “Our outside dining is very popular, and it offers amazing views. We’re probably the highest point in Dracut. We overlook the Merrimack Valley, and you can see the Boston skyline while you dine — the Pru, the Hancock.”
He credits the success of Grazie to his wife, Cindy. “Cindy has made it possible.” He says. “She makes sure everything runs smoothly. She’s here every day.” And, within a short time, Grazie has become a mainstay in Dracut, and another entry in Kuenzler’s long list of successful business ventures.
Visit Grazie at
1 Clubhouse Lane in Dracut, Mass.
Call: (978) 455-0054
Or visit them on the web at FourOaksCountryClub.com/restaurant