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This Great Big Story was made possible by Wells Fargo.
Established 1852. Re-Established 2018.
(Italian opera music)
We all crave our grandmother's cooking, right?
Well, what if there were a place that you could go anytime
and get that home-cooked meal from anywhere in the world?
That place exists in Staten Island,
just behind that scaffolding right over there.
(dramatic operatic music)
Meet Jo.
He's Italian by way of Brooklyn.
- My name is Jody Scaravella, and I own Enoteca Maria.
We don't employ chefs; we employ grandmothers.
When Joe opened the restaurant in 2006,
he noticed something.
- Every culture was coming to the restaurant
to celebrate these Italian grandmothers,
so I thought to myself, “How nice would it be
if we celebrated everybody's culture?”
- [Narrator] And so, Nonnas of the World was born.
(grandmas talking)
- [Jody] There are probably somewhere
between 30 and 40 grandmothers from different countries.
- My name is Habiba.
I'm from Algeria.
- My name is Lubof, and I am from Moscow, Russia.
- I come from Sri Lanka.
- Bulgaria.
- Dublin, Ireland.
- From Armenia.
- Buenos Aires, Argentina.
- [Narrator] Each night, there are two grandmothers cooking.
One is always Italian, the other, from somewhere else.
- [Jody] When they're in the kitchen cooking,
it's a completely different energy.
It's their day to shine; it's their day to show
what their cultural cuisine is all about.
You know, it sounds kind of corny,
but they do cook with love.
- [Narrator] And that feeling for Jo is about more
than the restaurant.
- When I opened the Enoteca, I was really grief-stricken.
My mom and my sister had passed.
(grandmother chatters)
- It was comforting to have these grandmothers
in the kitchen cooking and, you know, they would pinch my cheek
and say, "You want to try this?"
And at that point, I realized that what we were doing
was much bigger than I thought it was going to be.
(glasses clinking)
When you walk through the restaurant, if you listen,
every table that you pass by,
they're talking about their mothers
or they're talking about their grandmothers.
It kind of evokes a trip down memory lane.
(upbeat music)
(background chatter)
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Dinner at Grandma's: The Restaurant Where Nonnas Rule

500 Folder Collection
Evangeline published on July 3, 2018    Vickey translated    April Lu reviewed
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