Around every corner of downtown Paducah is a dream that came true for a shop owner, restaurant owner, and a variety of other small business owners. Painted against a palate of opportunity and creative thinking, downtown Paducah is the perfect setting for entrepreneurs who are ready to stop talking and make things happen.
Meet Bill (right) and Cynthia Gardner, creators of Cynthia's Ristorante, located at 125 Market House Square. Cynthia's is one of those amazing Paducah venues that most would not expect to be successful in a city the size of Paducah — 27,000 people. This dynamic couple has played a pivotal role in branding downtown Paducah as one of the most desirable attractions in the city, by both visitors and residents.
Having completed their education and working in restaurants all over the country, Bill and Cindy decided it was time to take a risk and open their own restaurant. Downtown Paducah was the perfect setting for their dream. Rent was affordable, the downtown ambience was charming, and family was close by. So the couple made the leap and relocated from Nashville, TN, to Paducah.
Cynthia's opened its doors in 1993, in the building that is currently home to Tribeca Mexican Cuisine. When an opportunity to own their own building came along they worked with then-Paducah Main Street manager, Marilyn Cassity, to find a suitable location and with great success found the perfect spot.
The building, though affordable, was in need of updates and additions. The couple worked diligently, finding all of the appropriate pieces to build their restaurant from the inside out. They did much of the work themselves and included a hand-crafted bar created by local artist, T. Taylor. If you look closely at the bar you'll find a few stories embedded in the design.
Seventeen years later the restaurant continues to set itself apart by providing an exceptional dining experience. Bill creates a new menu every week, researching food, incorporating locally-grown produce and meat from local farms. He uses a variety of organic and farm fresh products in each of his creations.
The restaurant also includes vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu items. Stock, pasta and desserts are made from scratch. The restaurant thrives on keeping things fresh and providing services that their customers can enjoy. In fact, Cindy loves to try out new wines on her customers, allowing them to have input into what the restaurant serves.
Cynthia's is a wonderful place to celebrate a special occasion or romantic evening, but the menu also features a variety of affordable menu items including delicious flatbread—an item under $10. Everyone is welcome and can enjoy anything from a light dinner to a full course meal. Those looking for a casual night out should stop in for a drink and share appetizers or desserts with friends.
The restaurant goes beyond providing great food.
"Bill is an incredibly talented chef and we focus on quality and being personable," said Cindy. "Our staff is personable and that goes a long way."
According to its employees, Cynthia's is also a great place to work—which explains why most of their employees have been there 10 years or more.
"Bill and Cindy are concerned about their employees. They really do care about what's going on in our lives. It feels like a family here. That's what makes it special and unique, says manager, Matthew Meeks (right), who is working on his twelfth year at the restaurant.
The restaurant hosts a few culinary events to entice their customers to try new foods and wines. On October 14 at 6:30 p.m. Cynthia's will host the Francis Ford Coppola Diamond Collection Wine Pairing Dinner. Call 270.443.3319 to reserve your spot before the dinner is full.
Cynthia’s is open Tuesday - Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.