This Staten Island Restaurant Employs Grandmas Instead Of Chefs

This Staten Island Restaurant Employs Grandmas Instead Of Chefs


My name is Marita and I come from Ecuador. My name is Habiba. I come from Algeria. I am Helena, and I am from Prague, Czech Republic. My name is Zina. I’m from Syria. My name is Diana. I am from Jerusalem, Palestine. Jody Scaravella: I’m the owner of Enoteca Maria,
where we feature grandmothers from all over the world. Every single day, we feature two grandmothers. One is Italian, the other one is always from another part of the world. From years ago, the people they come over here say:
“Oh, my nonna used to make this!” “That’s why I come over here, I heard you make this,” and then, you know they’re very happy. Enoteca Maria came about ten years ago actually 12 years ago I lost my mom and prior to that I lost my grandmother and my sister and 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. I think there’s probably about 30 different cultures represented, so basically, my idea is to celebrate the diversity instead of using that diversity to divide us, it brings us all together and I think that’s a project worthy of our time. These ladies, they get these recipes from their mother and from their grandmother and of course their grandmothers got it from their mothers and their grandmothers, so every time these ladies are in the kitchen cooking, you have hundreds of years of culture coming out of their fingertips and I think that that’s magic. I am here cooking the food from our culture. I am a nonna. I am nonna. I am one of the nonnas. Soy una nonna. I love the nonnas and the nonnas love me.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

13 Comments

  1. This is one of the best ideas I've ever heard of or seen. Leave it to good old Staten Island, where 90% of us actually say, at just about every restaurant they eat at, "My Grandma/Nonna used to make this, but it was so much better when she made it!!"

    I was born and raised on Staten Island, and my Grandmother was born in Norway, she passed away in the early 90s, and no one could make tollhouse cookies like she could. All my friends around town used to beg me to have my grandma make more cookies to bring to school. Also, my Brother-In-Law's Mother (I called her Aunt Vera all my life) is from Italy, and she and her Husband (Uncle Neil) could cook like they were taking food from heaven's table and serving it to us. Big Neil (we called him that because 'Little Neil' was his son – my age, and twice my size. Big Neil was a Golden Glove boxer in the 50's and 60's.) would cook with all fresh vegetables and ingredients from his garden, which was the size of a whole house's plot – I'd say a good 250'x200' – and the tomatoes and the eggplant and the zucchini… my mouth is drooling… Aunt Vera made the sauce, and when Uncle Neil made a pizza? Forget about it, his sicilian pies were frickin tremendous – you could barely fit it in your mouth, it had so much veggies and meat and cheese and omg I'm dyin over here… :/ I gotta go visit them and have him make me a pizza or seven.

    I don't know if you'll read this, but thank you SOOO much, Mr Scaravella, for coming up with this genius idea, and bringing us memories and tastes that some of us thought we'd never have again. I will definitely be visiting, and maybe I'll have my Uncle Neil make a pie to bring there for you and the staff to enjoy 😉

  2. You guys probably have to restock your tissues alot when customers start crying as nostalgia piles up and memories resurface.

    Not that its a bad thing,since it can wake up some who are dead inside.

    Awesome~

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