A white-tablecloth, destination restaurant in Staten Island, which serves classic Italian fare to celebrities and special-occasion crowds, recently took their culinary vision to the shopping mall circle.
In January, the elegant Angelina’s Ristorante opened a second, more casual location near the Staten Island Mall. The goal of the new Angelina’s Kitchen, says owner Vincent Malerba, is to bring the same high-end quality to pizza, chicken Parmesan and other popular dishes served up in a high-traffic location populated by chain restaurants.
The 6,000 square foot space at 280 Marsh Ave. replaced Bonefish Grill, which closed in 2014, according to a report in silive.com.
In this week’s edition of the Boxerbrand blog Recipe for Success, Malerba answers three questions about the new venture.
Q: How’s the new location working out?
It’s great! As far as challenges, there are no challenges. We’re still making fresh, homemade Italian food. It’s just being served with a quicker, more casual feel. Our first location is upscale fine dining. But we’ve added pizza and chicken Parm to Angelina’s Kitchen for a more casual approach. We’ve done fine dining for a long time, but not everybody is going to sit and have a three-hour meal. So this is the perfect way to reach more diners.
Q: You’ve been described as the only mom-and-pop restaurant among chain restaurants.
Yes, that’s right. We’re the only independently owned and operated restaurant here. It’s all franchises around us … and I think what we’re doing is a nice change from the norm that’s here. When it’s homemade food, it’s a different quality. Not that the other restaurants aren’t good, but I think we offer an authenticity on a different level.
Q: Have you carried over any menu items from your fine-dining restaurant, Angelina’s Ristorante?
Yes! All of our sauces for pastas, and our basics are offered at Angelina’s Kitchen. We use the same quality in the meats as well, but offer different cuts. We don’t have filet mignon at Angelina’s Kitchen or $185 steaks, which we have at our other location.
Q: How have you attracted new business to your door?
We used social media to create a little buzz prior to opening. Every time we sampled a menu item that we planned to offer at Angelina’s Kitchen, we’d up pictures all over social media. We created a fun thing where we never said exactly when we were going to open. So people were always asking us up until the day we did, which was Jan. 2.
By the time we opened, we’d created a word-of-mouth buzz and it’s been incredible. We can’t keep up with the volume. Over the weekend, we have anywhere from 800 to 1,000 people-a-day. — Angelina’s Kitchen uses Capri menu covers by Boxerbrand.