You don’t have to score a reservation at a world-class restaurant to enjoy a great meal: Some of the best food on earth can be found right in Grandma's kitchen. One restaurant in Staten Island, New York, seeks to bring the ultimate comfort food to patrons in the most authentic way possible. At Enoteca Maria, “nonnas" from around the world take the place of professional chefs, Gothamist reports.
Owner Jody Scaravella felt inspired to employ grandmothers at his restaurant after losing his own grandmother, mother, and sister. "I think subconsciously I was just trying to patch those holes in my life and seeing an Italian grandmother in the kitchen cooking was my idea of comfort," he told Gothamist.
Scaravella started by placing an ad in an Italian-language newspaper calling for "Italian housewives to cook regional dishes." He’s since expanded his team of chefs from those of his own Italian heritage to include grandmothers representing different cultures and ethnicities. At any given time there are two nonnas in the kitchen: one from Italy and one from a different part of the world. A few of the places his cooks hail from include Syria, Poland, Nigeria, Venezuela, Turkey, and France. Enoteca Maria also features one male "nonno" who makes gnocchi, ravioli, and other fresh pasta for the menu.
The kitchen has been staffed by international grandmothers for about a decade, and in that time the establishment has received attention from around New York City and the rest of the world. Enoteca Maria even released its own cookbook last year featuring signature dishes from 10 of the beloved nonnas.
Customers craving a taste of grandma’s home cooking can visit the restaurant Wednesday through Sunday. (The restaurant closes when "everyone goes home!")
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