A new Italian restaurant is coming to the town of Halifax.

Vincenzo “Viny” Ruotolo-Sarnataro plans to open his restaurant in the downtown Halifax Marketplace in late summer.

Halifax Town Council at its Tuesday evening meeting approved a five-year lease of 3,148 square feet of space inside the building at 209 S. Main St. to Ruotolo-Sarnataro.

The restaurant will seat less than 50 people and will have a separate entrance from the farmers market, which also is housed in the building.

“We see this as something that would be extraordinarily positive for the town,” Halifax town manager Carl Espy told town council members before they voted on the lease.

Ruotolo-Sarnataro briefly addressed council in a public hearing prior to the vote on the lease.

“I will do my best to improve the town of Halifax,” Ruotolo-Sarnataro said. “I will use the local bank, local air conditioning (business), local insurance and that’s how I’m going to help Halifax.”

Councilwoman Gail Bosiger made the motion to approve the five-year lease agreement between the town of Halifax and Ruotolo-Sarnataro. Council approved the lease in a unanimous vote.

Ruotolo-Sarnataro’s plan for his new restaurant is to offer a menu of traditional Italian pasta dishes, such as spaghetti and lasagna, sub sandwiches such as cheese steaks and salads, adding items to the menu based on customer demand. He said his restaurant would be open for lunch and dinner and closed on Sundays.

The lease agreement for the restaurant states that Ruotolo-Sarnataro will pay $400 in rent to the town of Halifax monthly, will be responsible for all the utilities, water and sewer for the building and will be required to purchase an insurance policy on the building.

Before the five-year lease expires, the town and restaurant owner have the option of renewing it for another five years, at a lease rate of $500 per month.

The town of Halifax rolled out the welcome mat to Ruotolo-Sarnataro at Tuesday’s meeting, with Mayor Dexter Gilliam, a town employee and several council members thanking him for his business investment in the town.

“Thank you so much for believing in the town and the investment,” said Councilman Michael Trent. “It’s unique for someone like Viny to come to the table with such a well thought out plan that he’s willing to put so much of himself into, and I think we’re very blessed, very lucky to have him in this town.”

Officer Malcolm Bowen of the Halifax Police Department also expressed the town’s hospitality to Ruotolo-Sarnataro.

“I would like to thank Viny for considering the town, and we look forward to having you come here,” he said.

Councilman Bill Covington said he “couldn’t think of a better thing to have happen” in the town of Halifax than Ruotolo-Sarnataro opening the restaurant.

“I think it’s going to be more than Viny’s good food. I think it has the potential to have a lot of other benefits. Maybe it will draw other businesses,” Covington said.

Gilliam told Ruotolo-Sarnataro the town looks forward to the opening of his restaurant and “being neighbors.”

Ruotolo-Sarnataro is a well-known businessman and restaurateur in Halifax County.

He previously owned and operated a frozen yogurt shop, Frutopia, in South Boston. The shop has permanently closed.

His brother Andrea Ruotolo-Sarnataro owns Italian Delight Family Restaurant next door to Frutopia.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.

Miranda Baines is a staff writer for The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at mbaines@gazettevirginian.com.