Nobody makes comfort food better than grandma! You do not realize how much you love her cooking until you move away and start eating takeaway pretty much every day of the week. Some days, you might just feel like leaving your hectic life behind and enjoying a nice meal that your nana made with so much love. If you can do that, you are lucky! The less fortunate ones, however, can find the next best thing at Enoteca Maria, a New York restaurant that serves food cooked by grandmas. Instead of professional chefs, the kitchen is run entirely by grandmothers from around the world.
Jody Scaravella, the founder and owner of Enoteca Maria, came up with a unique idea after suffering a series of tragedies.
Jody Scaravella came up with the idea for Enoteca Maria over a decade ago. It was a time filled with tragedies for him. In a span of one year, he lost his mother, grandmother, and sister. The idea of having a grandma run his kitchen comforted him. In an interview with Gothamist, Scaravella stated that he first put an ad in the paper in search of “Italian housewives to cook regional dishes.” The restaurant was not yet running, so, the cooking would take place at his house. The women would bring their own dishes, and sometimes babysit their grandchildren while cooking!
Enoteca Maria has left those humble days behind. Now, the bustling restaurant has grandmothers coming from different corners of the world to cook.
The popularity of Enoteca Maria spread fast, and now the restaurant has over 20 nonnas on a schedule to cook delicious meals. The grandmothers come from different places around the world including Algeria, Nigeria, Argentina, Czech Republic, Palestine, and more. They are all called “nonnas,” which is Italian for grandmother. They all take turns in cooking the cuisine of their homeland. So, apart from traditional Italian dishes such as gnocchi, ravioli, and lasagna, you can also enjoy a different cuisine every night, depending on which nonna is running the kitchen.
Situated in Staten Island, Enoteca Maria is the perfect example of celebrating different cultures through their food.
Situated only a stone’s throw away from Manhattan, Enoteca Maria has seen significant success over the last few years. The restaurant is not only known for its unique theme, but it is also reputed for serving delectable food that is made from scratch with fresh ingredients. With a 4-Star Yelp rating, Enoteca Maria has no problem getting customers. People from England, Australia, and Italy call Scaravella to get reservations. Most days, the restaurant stays packed until closing. Pretty much every day, the nonnas get standing ovations from the customers.
The grandmothers love working at Enoteca Maria, and it is reflected in their food. Many of the nonnas come from as far away as New Jersey and The Bronx to show off their cooking skills. Thanks to Scaravella’s unique idea and vision, Enoteca Maria is helping to keep the goodness of home-cooked food alive. If you are ever in Staten Island, do not forget to drop by the restaurant to have a hearty meal!