Friday, January 25, 2008

New Italian restaurant keeps it in the family

Clayton News Star

Gennarino Gubitosi discovered early on that he enjoyed cooking. As a young boy, Gubitosi, who goes by Jerry, found joy in helping his mother in the kitchen. Today, he’s still working with his mother in the kitchen.

The Gubitosi family – mom included – is gearing up to open their new restaurant, Mulberry on Main, at the end of the month. The restaurant, located at 217 E. Main St. (formerly Good Times Café), also will serve as a base of operations for the Gubitosis’ highly successful corporate catering business. The restaurant will be open 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. It also can be reserved for private parties Monday through Saturday. Gubitosi will be joined in the kitchen by his wife, Bernadette, and his mother, Antonietta. Three sisters and four of his seven daughters also are expected to pitch in.

An outsider might wonder whether family members can work together in the pressure-filled environment of a restaurant kitchen and still get along at the end of the work day. But Bernadette Gubitosi says it’s no problem with a boss like her husband. “He’s pretty easy to work with,” she said.

Jerry Gubitosi’s family initially came to the United States in the early 1900s, but he was born in Italy, in a town near Naples. His grandfather returned to Italy after serving in Africa in World War I. His father and mother emigrated to the United States with young Jerry in 1966. But after a stint in New York, the family went back to Italy. Then they returned to the Big Apple – this time for good. As Gubitosi jokes on his menu, “I think we were the only family in New York that ‘came off the boat’ twice!”

Gubitosi’s extensive restaurant experience started at age 18, when he took a job at a popular pizzeria in New Jersey. He eventually honed his skills to the point where he could land a job at a four-star Italian restaurant. After Jerry and Bernadette married in 1986, they opened an Italian restaurant, Casa Gennaro, in an up-and-coming small town in New Jersey called Hackettstown. It was town a lot like Clayton, Gubitosi said. “It had that hometown feeling,” he said.Casa Gennaro closed Sept. 10, 2001 – right before the restaurant business in the greater New York area took a hit because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In 2004, the family moved to North Carolina and launched a corporate catering service whose clients are primarily pharmaceutical firms. The business involves preparation of about 700 meals a week and covers a wide swath of central and eastern North Carolina. “[Jerry] doesn’t tell anybody no,” Bernadette Gubitosi said.

Mulberry on Main takes its name from the street in New York’s Little Italy where Gubitosi’s grandfather settled. By coincidence, when Jerry and Bernadette were dating, their favorite restaurant, Angelo’s, happened to be on Mulberry Street, too.
Mulberry on Main will feature, among other items, Antonietta Gubitosi’s handmade manicotti ($9.95). Other familiar baked items will include ziti ($8.95), lasagna ($10.95) and eggplant parmigiana ($12.95). Pastas, including a tortellini alfredo with tossed peas and proscuitto ham, will range from $8.95 to $10.95 in price.

Various meat and seafood entrees will range from chicken parmigiana for $12.95 to zuppa di pesce all vincenzo (mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops and baby clams in a homemade marinara sauce and served on linguini) for $18.95. House specialties will include “three amici” (three friends) – shrimp, veal and chicken francese sautéed in a lemon-wine sauce and served over linguine – for $17.95. Mulberry on Main also will be able to serve customers a wide variety of gourmet pizzas up to 16 inches in size and $18.45 in price. Takeout orders will be accepted. The restaurant’s main number will be 550-7400. To find out about catering, call 616-8995.

Gubitosi is eager to teach Clayton about great Italian food. “It’s about a lot more than just red sauce,” he said.


Lauren said...

Yum...I'm salivating and missing really good Italian food. I would have hoped for more reasonable prices, however. $13 for Eggplant Parm is a bit steep.

LInda said...

Well, tried the new Italian Place. Even though, the owner quoted"He was going to teach the people of Clayton what real Italian food is-most people who talked about that quote were insulted. Also, he said, that Italian food was more than red sauce. Well, he did have plenty of red sauce on his menu. Went in,waited a short time. Seemed to be cold inside because the door kept opening right into where you are sitting. Our waitress (looked to be about 14years old,) but she did have her nose pierced so maybe she was 16. I wanted more info on the different wines, but didn't bother to ask her as she clearly did not look old enough to even serve alcohol, let alone drink it. She certainly seemed extremely inexperienced as a waitress. I had the pinot grigio. We were served some kind of frozen bread, I guess it was supposed to be foccacia, and frozen butter packets. I ordered the eggplant parmigiana, hubby ordered the flounder. After waiting an abnormally long time, I finally asked the bewildered waitress where our salads were and she said oops I forgot. The salad arrived and it was small and non-descript. The Italian dressing was bland. So we finally get our dinners and the eggplant had so much breading I could not tell that it was eggplant. The red sauce was very tasteless yet acidic. My hubby's flounder sat in a plate like a naked lump. No presentation, no vegetable no nothing. His was tasteless also, and the linguine (which was mushy,)that was served with it had a clear sauce that was so tasteless, I think it was the pasta water. We sat and waited a long while for the check, finally got our waitress and then she brought us the wrong check and credit card back. I have heard similiar experiences from friends about the food being tasteless, but I had to try for myself. The glass of wine was good though. All in all,the menu clearly looked like a spin-off of Venero's, but the food and service aren't.

Kira123 said...

Wow, I had about the same experience there. Went with friends who wanted to try it. We love Venero's, but figured what the heck. Looked at the menu and it seemed like a knock-off. It did have some more veal and chicken dishes though. But it wasn't anything I could not get over at Venero's. Had the same young waitress. We had the shrimp scampi and the zuppa di pesce. Both were overpriced and tasteless, no flavor at all. The bread that was given really was not good.(what, no yummy garlic knots) But garlic knots were on the menu. The shrimp were small, even though the menu stated jumbo. Our service was also slow. Seemed like alll the waitresses were kids, I think only one was actually an adult.
We only went there because the new steak place had a long wait, but that will definately be our last time. I did not try the wine though! lol

Anonymous said...

My husband and I ate at Mulberry on Main for the first time this past week and we LOVED it. We will be back very soon - and often. The food was great and reasonably priced, and the staff was very friendly and knowledgeable. Highly, highly recommended!

Anonymous said...

No more traveling 45 minutes for Italian food. Mulberry on Main is GREAT and in our own back yard! I had the lasagna and my wife had the chicken marsala. Both were very well prepared and our service was excellent. I'm not sure what happened to linda and kiera's meal but mine was very tasty. We were able to enjoy our meal without the screaming kid we always seem to sit next to at Venero's. Recommend you try it!

Anonymous said...

I have to say Verero's doesn't even compare to the food at Mulberry On Main. So if I was to guess, Linda & Kira are family to that so called Italian Verero's restaurant.
You should be gentle on your words talking about "children" like that....very poor judgement, and very unprofessional if I might say!
I can tell you that all my family & friends experiences at Mulberry were great, we would highly recommend the choice!
So try it out, and see for yourself :) I agree screaming kids, and little people blowing up balloons are not a nice relaxing dinner out!!!!!!!!!