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Bring the family together for Sunday brunch at Famiglia

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The Famiglia French Toast platter

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Christina Ruotolo

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

For the last three years, a quaint culinary stop worthy of your time and taste buds is Famiglia Italian American Cuisine at 740 W. Fire Tower Road in Winterville. The restaurant serves fresh Italian-American cuisine in a cozy and inviting atmosphere.

“Famiglia” means family in Italian, and the family flavor comes through in every dish. There is a lovely Italian phrase on the menu that speaks to the food, atmosphere and welcoming owners and employees. “Abbandonati all’amore e alla Cucina” means “love and cook with wild abandon.” This is the secret to the family-inspired Italian and American cuisine.

The restaurant was founded by Andrew Harris, John Furci, and additional business partners who strive to bring families together around the dinner table. The Furci family heritage is from Calabria, Italy, and Sora, Italy, between Rome and Naples, so you are guaranteed to get a meal with authentic taste. The importance of cooking with love, patience and fresh ingredients is a winning combination here.

Famiglia specialties include a variety of Italian and American food including appetizers such as antipasto platter; fried cheese wedges with homemade marinara; New York-style brick-oven pizzas; Italian chicken soup; salads; pasta dishes and entrees, including a spicy seafood fra diavolo; a build-your-own pasta dish; and delectable desserts. Famiglia has some of my favorite side items that go beyond fries and include broccoli, pancetta, and brussels sprouts. Prices range from $6-$19. 

Famiglia has an awesome Sunday brunch that runs from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. In honor of the Southern ritual of the Sunday brunch outing, grab your church hat, a group of family and friends and eat some breakfast. Prices for brunch range from $6-$18 with all of the breakfast/brunch food you crave like frittatas, breakfast pizzas, omelets, Famiglia’s French toast and pancake platters. Side items include bacon, sausage, home fries or fruit. 

I started with the most popular brunch option, the Famiglia French Toast platter. Famiglia makes its own sweet, creamy batter and immerses four thick biased-cut bread slices in it and fries it to a beautiful golden yellow. The dish is served with warm syrup for drizzling, two eggs (any style) and a choice of breakfast meat. I selected the eggs over medium with just enough yolk for mixing with the bacon. It was beautifully presented, dusted with powdered sugar and garnished with raspberries. The French toast was soft and chewy on the inside and had the perfect amount of crunch on the outside — sweet and tasty. The eggs were perfectly done, the bacon crispy perfection, especially when dipped in sweet syrup. It costs $8.50.

Next, I tried the Three Pancake Platter. Three buttermilk pancakes the size of dinner plates are served with the same indulgent syrup, two eggs, which I had scrambled this time, two sausage links and a side of mixed fruit. The pancakes are warm, buttery and filling, and you can taste the love that went into cooking them. The eggs were fluffy and light, the sausage a savory sidekick and the fruit was the palate cleanser with the bright, sweet raspberries, tart blueberries and smooth, creamy bananas. This dish costs $8.

Let’s move onto to omelets. The Veggie Omelet is filled with sauteed green peppers, onions, tomatoes and a handful of melted, gooey cheddar cheese. This is vegetarian heaven on a plate served up with a generous helping of crispy home fries. It costs $7.

Brunch food deserves a liquid side car, so chose from a few favorites like a cup of hot Lanoca coffee from Ayden or a bright and sunny mimosa with orange juice, champagne and a splash of grenadine. If you crave a spicy kick, pick the Bloody Mary. This bad boy packs a punch from the first sip. It’s spicy and peppery made with house Pearl vodka, Worcestershire sauce, a dash of Texas Pete hot sauce, and garnished with a massive jalapeno jack cheese stuffed olive, a slice of celery, and a lime wedge.

Famiglia is open from 5-9 p.m. Mondays and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. The restaurant offers daily specials, On Monday, pay $5 for the meatball appetizer or savor $5 martinis. Tuesday is buy one get one half-off on build-your-own pizzas. Wednesday is half price off wine by the glass or bottle. Thursday, draft beers are $2.50 and kids eat free with purchase of an adult entree. Friday, enjoy half-price appetizers with a purchase of a bottle of wine. On Saturday, students and military get 10 percent off their meal. Sunday while your are having breakfast favorites, enjoy $3 mimosas and $5 bloody marys, or buy one, get one half-off large pizzas.

Before you leave, check out the bathrooms, where framed photos of sexy Italians grace the walls. It wouldn’t be an Italian restaurant without a big photo of the sultry Sophia Loren.

You can order online, and there is a pick-up window for convenience. For more information, or to make reservations call, 689-6330 or check out the website, www.famiglianc.com.

Jack Brown’s

Jack Brown's Beer & Burger Joint has opened at 805 Dickinson Ave.

The menu features beer, burgers, fries and fried Oreos. There are more than a dozen burgers on the menu including "The Elvis" (with peanut butter, mayo, applewood smoked bacon and cheese), "The Chiflet" (applewood smoked bacon, egg and cheese) and the most popular burger, "The Greg Brady" (house made mac n’ cheese and Martin’s BBQ potato chips). The restaurant offers more than 100 beers.

Jack Brown's is open from 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. Call 689-6827 or visit www.jackbrownsjoint.com.

Bone Appetit

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina (HSEC) will host a Bone Appetit fundraising event from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday at Basil's, 1674 E. Fire Tower Road. A percentage of all food and drink sales will be donated to HSEC. Write “for HSEC” on the receipt and alert the server.

Kona Ice

Kona Ice of Greenville will offer free shaved ice from noon-2 p.m. Tuesday to help local residents chill out on Tax Day.. The truck will be at the Greenville Convention Center, 207 S.W. Greenville Blvd.

Brewery benefit

The Friends of the Ronald McDonald House will host a special “Friends Night Out” event from 5-7:30 p.m. April 19 at Uptown Brewery, 418 Evans St. Tickets are $25 per person and include a guest's first beer or wine, along with appetizers and desserts provided by several businesses. Tickets may be purchased at the Ronald McDonald House, 529 Moye Blvd. or at 692 Olive, 692 E. Arlington Blvd. Proceeds will benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern North Carolina. For more information, contact Laurie Josell at 410-218-1893 or visit rmhenc.org/friends-night-out/.

Meals on Wheels

Chipotle, 610 S.E. Greenville Blvd., will host a fundraiser from 5-9 p.m. April 24 to support Meals on Wheels. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to home-bound adults ages 60 and older who are unable to prepare their own meals. Customers should alert the server that they are participating in the fundraiser.

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