A woman who’s opened and managed several local Italian restaurants plans to open one of her own, Eatali New York Grill & Bakery, this spring in Spotsylvania Courthouse Village.
Maria Misseri, a native of Palermo, Sicily, has 25 years of experience in the restaurant business. She most recently ran Vinny’s Italian Grill and Basilico Italian Market and New York Deli in Fredericksburg. Her new, full-service restaurant will be located in the space previously occupied by C’est Bon.
Younes Lahlou, who also has over 25 years experience in the restaurant industry, will be the head chef. He worked at Brock’s Riverside Grill in Fredericksburg for just over 10 years.
Misseri said that the view from her new restaurant, which faces Merchants Square, reminds her of “La Piazza” in Sicily. That’s a gathering in the central part of the city where people drive around, walk about, have a gelato or espresso and simply enjoy the company and some conversation.
Eatali’s menu will include her favorite dish, the “Shrimp & Crab Cognac.” It’s a combination of tomato cream sauce fired up with cognac and fresh seafood tossed with rigatoni pasta and fresh basil. The restaurant will also serve a variety of other Italian dishes, including lobster risotto arancini, fried fresh mozzarella, paninis, pasta dishes and pizza; as well as such American-style fare as crab cakes, New York strip steak, and chicken and waffles.
Misseri moved to the United States with her family when she was a toddler, and she grew up with her grandparents as her models. Her grandfather, Salvatore Cucuzza, worked in a ricotta factory in Bridgeport, Pa., next door to Conte Luna pasta factory where her grandmother Rosa Badalamenti was employed.
The youngest of eight children, Misseri can vividly recall standing on a chair in the kitchen, first watching, then participating, in the preparation of a variety of foods. Today, recipes and culinary strategies that are generations old will be alive in Eatali’s offerings, notably her cakes, cookies and pastries.
UPDATE: The restaurant's name was changed to Eatali New York Grill & Bakery before it opened in July.