Friday, January 25, 2008
New Italian restaurant keeps it in the family
By RICK MERCIER
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.
Posted by Bruce at 4:51 PM