The Italian restaurant in New York where only grandmothers from around the world cook

Feb 20 2024, 18:02
Cooks hailing from Italy, Azerbaijan, Japan, and many other countries, united to bring the best of their cuisines to the table, in addition to Italian: the story of the establishment in Staten Island

Who better than a grandmother to tell the story of traditional cuisine? This is the idea behind the creation of Enoteca Maria in Staten Island, New York, a place where grandmothers from various countries take turns in the kitchen to bring the best of their cuisine to the table, including Italian.

The grandmothers' restaurant in Staten Island

These are not professional chefs but passionate women who, over time, have prepared meals for their entire families—through Christmas dinners, family reunions, birthday parties, and daily life—thinking about children and grandchildren, trying to please everyone. Now they take on the challenge of cooking for the restaurant's customers, who can find everything from authentic Peruvian cuisine to classic Korean dishes.

The Italian sign makes things clear from the start: the tricolor cuisine is among the protagonists, with a consistently present menu that varies depending on the grandmother in charge. Lasagna, meatballs, oven-baked rabbit, spaghetti alle vongole—different ladies work at the stoves, bringing a piece of their respective regions.

The story of Enoteca Maria

But there are also grandmothers from Azerbaijan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Algeria, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Poland... you can find it all at Enoteca Maria, a restaurant opened in 2007 by Joe Scaravella in an area near the ferries to Manhattan. The Maria on the sign was Joe's mother, who, along with grandmother Mimma, greatly influenced the entrepreneur's taste. The idea came after his mother's death, without a particular business plan, just a grief to channel into a project that could honor her memory. In 2015, the sign opened its doors to grandmothers from around the world, while still maintaining a strong Italian imprint. Customers quickly became attached to the cooks, prompting the owner to create a Nonnas Calendar, updating the public on the presence of various ladies in the kitchen so that everyone can book based on their favorite grandmother.

Enoteca Maria - 27 Hyatt St, Staten Island, NY 10301, United States -

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