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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

Exciting things happening at Cucina LaMantia Sicilian Ristorante

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The Godfather

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Christina Ruotolo
Hot Dish

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Cucina LaMantia Sicilian Ristorante at 3700 S. Memorial Drive in front of Lowe’s has some exciting news for their customers. Starting Oct. 1, they will be serving lunch off a menu 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 

They have been open for almost a year and in that time have built a huge fan base of foodies who have fallen in love with the family-oriented atmosphere, the staff, owners and of course the incredible food. They popularity is evident as they are finalists in the Best of Greenville contest under multiple categories including best overall restaurant, best Italian, best menu and best small business.

I introduced you to Cucina LaMantia and their unique approach to dinner service earlier this year. They started out as a reservation only dinner establishment that serves 14-courses in one sitting. It’s a wonderful opportunity to get a bunch of your friends together and bring your own beer and wine and settle in for a great dinner with an event-like feel. You don’t know what the menu will be when you get there, and as you move through the courses from bruschetta to oversized mafioso meatballs, to meat and pasta dishes as well as their fresh homemade mozzarella, you feel as if you are at a friend’s supper club.

The restaurant is charming in its style with walls adorned with hundreds of photos of the customers who have come and joined the family during their first year in business. The pictures are a wonderful representation of what happens when you mix great food with great patrons in the community. It’s a scrapbook of good times had by all.

Owners and New Jersey natives, Charlie and Lauren LaMantia, have enjoyed getting to know the customers and their families and growing relationships with other business owners. “We fell in love with Greenville and when we took this giant leap. Everything just fell into place, and we have enjoyed the opportunity to serve great food to great people,” Charlie said.

Charlie’s been in the food industry for over 25 years with family roots in Sicily. He came to North Carolina with Lauren in 2018 at a friend’s recommendation and their dreams of opening a restaurant took shape. Charlie is a classically trained chef and knows his way around a kitchen cooking family recipes passed down from the LaMantia family tree. So now that you have the low-down, let’s eat some lunch already because I’m hungry.

The new lunch menu will feature some of the beloved dinner options including Charlie’s famous bruschetta, fresh mozzarella, fan-favorite panelle as well as sandwiches and pasta dishes. There is a little bit of every kind of Italian dish so you’re sure to find a favorite.

I started my food tour with pasta because pasta is one of those dishes that has the ability to change your mood. If you’re feeling blue, eat some pasta. If you need a pick-me up, eat some pasta. The Uncle Gino pasta dish starts with Rigatoni mixed with pancetta, onions, garlic, tomato and basil, all bathed in a glossy, creamy sauce with black pepper. It’s a bowl of happiness times two. The rich cream sauce hugged the grooves of the pasta and you get a slight heat from the pepper mixed with sweet onion and signature Italian flavors of basil and garlic which when mixed together is culinary magic.

Now let’s have a sandwich — a sausage, onion, pepper and potato sandwich called The Godfather. If you’re Italian, this sandwich is a right of passage. The Godfather himself will tell you to “go to the sausage sandwich,” or something Godfatherly like that. The sausage has a deep fried blistered skin and the savory and rich tomato-based sauce has touches of white wine and sweetness from the pepper as well as a few secret ingredients making it a flavorful filling lunch option. All of the sandwiches will be available in half (6 inch) and whole (12 inch) sizes, and all hot sandwiches will be served on toasted garlic bread.

The next entree I tried was the steak pizzaiola sandwich. Served on that same crunchy and garlicy toasted bread, it’s filled with filet mignon mixed with sautéed onions, peppers and tomatoes. This little beauty was super filling and had richly rewarding flavor. I ended my food tour with a bit of sweetness with the Italian classic tartufo. It’s a vanilla ice cream centered with chopped cherries and rolled in crushed cookies. It was super cute, and who doesn’t love ice cream and cookies.

And don’t worry if you haven’t had a chance to partake in their dinner service because they will still be offering their reservation only, no-menu, 14 course dinners at 6 p.m. only on Friday and Saturday nights beginning Oct. 4. The cost is $45 per person plus gratuities. It usually takes about three hours from start to finish. Cucina LaMantia will begin accepting credits cards Oct. 1, so you can pay in cash or card. If you want that quick, filling lunch, stop in during the week and try some of the wonderful menu items and see what everybody is talking about. You can call ahead or text to order take-out if you want to bring it back to the office.

Cucina LaMantia is currently accepting reservations for holiday parties, so call and book early because space and dates are limited. It’s a great place to bring the work crew and thank them for a great year and show them some love! They have plenty of space to accommodate family-style parties up to 55 people and can be available seven days a week for your private parties, networking events and for your next off-site event.

When you book a private party you can create your own menu the number of courses. For those that have special diet restrictions such as vegetarian and gluten-free, with two days’ notice, Chef Charlie can accommodate your needs.

For more information, check out their website www.cucinalamantia.com, find them on Facebook and Instagram, email at cucinalamantia@gmail.com and call or text 252-242-2525.

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Hot-Dish

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