“This new place opened,” Stephan, an enthusiastic foodie, told us. “It’s in the old “Katie McGuire’ location. The food is great, and the owner is a character.” Then he gave us the important information. “They also have a good wine list.”
My husband and I were there within a week. We met Alex Prestifilippo, the exuberant owner. We were impressed by the simple but delicious food, and even more impressed by the flawless service. Over the years, Gourmet Italia became part of our family’s fabric. We celebrated over Smoked Salmon Farfelle, shared intimacies over the deceptively simple Sicilian Salad, and occasionally mourned losses over a dish of baked Ziti. The night before my father’s big 60th birthday bash, we celebrated so hard at Gourmet Italia that we were barely able to host his party. Not all of the time spent at Gourmet Italia has been epic. It has also been quiet and comfortable. My friend Jen and I go there for dry Rosé and “anything but kids” talk. When Steve was contemplating a career change, he found himself sitting on the patio, many afternoons, with a glass of red wine, bread and tapenade.
For all of these reasons, going to the 10th anniversary celebration was like going to a family party. As a thank you to their loyal patrons, the Prestifilippos offered an all you can eat buffet for $10. The buffet consisted of favorites like Chicken Parmagiana, and Bruschetta, the traditional flavor pumped up with the addition of sharp salty olives. My husband loves fried Calamari and he proclaimed the calamari on the buffet “Perfect.” My favorite dish was the Bresaola, a dried beef dish very similar to Carpaccio.
Anthony Tiso was there, representing La Serenissima winery. He poured red wines that paired beautifully with the food. Steve chose the Cab/Merlot and I was very happy with the Cabernet Franc, which was nicely structured and not too fruity. We had a great time. Alex is still a character, and his servers are still flawless. His pretty wife, Charity, is the consummate hostess, and their wine list is even better than it was when they opened. The location has expanded to more than twice it’s original size. My family and I will celebrate many more events at Gourmet Italia, including, I am sure, their 20th anniversary.