Some Grandmas are cuddly, some are feisty, and most are sweet and precious. The one thing that is true for nearly all grandmas, though, is their ability to create a sumptuous feast at the drop of a hat. All it takes is a beloved “grand” to show up a little bit hungry.
Yes, Grandma’s cooking is special and there’s simply no one who can whip up a delicious meal more authentically than the sweet family matriarch. If you are lucky, your grandmother is still around and you get the opportunity to spend time with her, with or without a meal being involved. But for some of us, who might even be Grandmas ourselves, have long ago said goodbye to our beloved Grannies. Among many of the things we most miss is her fantastic cooking, always served up with a generous helping of LOVE.
Although we cannot bring back our darling grandmothers, there might be a way we can enjoy the type of cooking that only a grandmother can make. What would you think of a restaurant that serves only food created by real grandmas?
Well, that’s exactly what Joe Scaravella, self-proclaimed “Italian by way of Brooklyn,” wanted to recreate for his patrons: a place to go where the ultimate in comfort food could be found. When he opened "Enoteca Maria" a cozy eatery situated on Staten Island in New York, he had one mission in mind: to serve authentic grandma-caliber cooking to his patrons. And what better way to do that than by bringing in real grandmothers as his chefs?!
On any given night at "Nonnas of the World" two grandmas are on kitchen-duty. Due to Joey’s “Italian” roots, he always has one Italian preparing the meals, but the other cook (and her ethnic recipes) change nightly. You might find your meal prepared by a sweet lady from Greece, Sri Lanka, Bulgaria, Peru, Algeria, Russia, Ireland, Armenia, Argentina, or of course, Italy.
It’s as real as it can get, and these dedicated ladies are ready to prove to you that they can come up with the goods, no matter what your palate is craving.
Scaravella came up with the concept for his restaurant during a time of profound grief; he had just lost both his mother and sister and was struggling with the losses. Then it occurred to him that he could draw comfort from having these grandmothers in the kitchen, cooking; and very soon, he discovered that their energy had lifted his spirits.
He is proud that he is able to provide a little slice of the old country and share the affection of other people’s grandmas with his diners, who return again and again to relive the nostalgia the dining experience stirs up. “Every table, when you pass by, they are talking about their mothers or grandmothers.” Explains Scaravella, “It evokes a trip down memory lane.”
What could be better than that? And for the ladies who helped to make this restaurant so special, it is a unique opportunity for them to share what they can do. Working at Enoteca Maria gives them “their day to shine, their day to show what their cultural cuisine is all about,” boasts Scaravella. “It sounds kind of corny but they do cook with love,” he adds.
Just like Grandma, right? While almost everyone has had a Grandma and the memories of her are undoubtedly good ones, there is nothing quite like being able to revisit those sentimental times by having a beautiful and delicious home-cooked meal prepared for you by a sweet grandma.
No matter when you decide to dine there, you can be sure that one item is always on the menu - that special thing that grandmas serve up best: L-O-V-E! Please enjoy the video, below, to learn more about this innovative dining destination.