News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian

After moving to the Eastern Shore, Greg and Jill Peterson became hooked on the product that Mark Bentz was putting out at his previous restaurant. Greg has a passion for Italian food and has had the opportunity to experience some well known big city Italian restaurants. He and his family enjoyed Mark’s food for years and were loyal patrons of the Pittsburgh native who honed his skills at Tessaro’s in Bloomfield – Pittsburgh’s own Little Italy. When Peterson learned that Bentz was available, he asked Mark to partner with him and his wife Jill to open a restaurant. They looked at a several locations in Mobile and in Fairhope but when they found this particular Spanish Fort spot they knew it was meant to be.  There was a definite need in the area for a non-chain, Italian restaurant and they were going to be it! Greg envisioned Mark behind the glass in the exhibition kitchen hand tossing fresh pizza dough as part of the ambiance of the establishment. From the time they purchased the property in February until opening in May it has been an all hands on deck, do-it-yourself project. When Greg wasn’t working or sleeping he was building the bar, landscaping, painting and transforming what once was an ice cream shop into TRATTORIA PIZZA AND ITALIAN.
Everything they serve is made from scratch. Breads and pizza dough are made daily. The sauces and dressings are homemade and even cheese is grated by hand. The pizza is the traditional thin and crispy variety and available in small, medium or large. You can stick with the basic pizza pie, build your own or go with one of their specialty combinations. Calzones are also available. The appetizer menu includes bruschetta, garlic balls, cheesy bread and a blackened tuna quesadilla – just to name a few. They serve a variety of salads, to which you can add your choice of chicken, steak or tuna. Their sandwiches are served hot and with your choice of side. Italian Steak, Philly Steak, Chicken Philly Steak, Chicken Cordon Blue, Tuna Steak, Muffaletta, Meatball and more are part of the sandwich menu.
Entrees include Greg’s Favorite, the Baked Ziti and Mark’s Favorite, Sesame Encrusted Tuna along with Chicken Picatta, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chicken Alfredo Pasta, Cheese Ravioli, Seafood Ravioli and Vegetable Pasta.
There is a full bar at Trattoria Pizza and Italian. It is situated just beyond the dining area but is not sectioned off therefore adding to the family feel that the proprietors are striving for.
The response they have seen thus far is “beyond their wildest dreams”. This trio is pleased to be able to provide their community a huge serving  of hospitality in an inviting atmosphere with some  of the best pizza and Italian food around. They have an outdoor patio behind the building with a sand play area for the kids and look forward to providing you with live evening entertainment on weekends. They are open every day from 11am until.  Trattoria Pizza and Italian, 11611 US Hwy 31, Spanish Fort (251) 375-0076 • Facebook “Trattoria Pizza & Italian” • http://www.TrattoriaPizzaSF.com Continue reading “News Anchor and Pittsburgh native go Italian”

The Feo’s mission to provide Premium EVOO

100_1707-1Vitina and Stephano Feo are business owners with an enduring passion for keeping their heritage alive and educating the public about what the olive oil industry is really about. Vitina was born and raised in Venezuela while Stephano is from New Jersey. They met in California while Vitina was studying at UCLA. They married, started a family and came to live in Gulf Shores, Alabama to be closer to family that had already settled in the area. Prior to 2012, Stephano’s focus was on his accounting practice and Vitina was busy home schooling their children while working from home for a technology company.
During a recent visit to Italy, Stephano and Vitina happened to cross paths with a distant relative of Vitina’s father’s family. He insisted that the couple come visit the family’s olive mill. They learned that the son of the family was trying to promote their olive oil in Canada. After the Feo’s returned home they started comparing the oil that the Giaramida family was producing to what was being sold here in the United States. That market research uncovered a quite a difference between the family’s olive oil and olive oil that was currently on shelves for public consumption. Further research into the industry itself revealed many differences – none of which they believed were cause to celebrate. These findings were part of the reason the Feos decided it was an opportune time to introduce a quality olive oil in the United States.
The couple knew that in order to get this product into stores, people must taste it. Their first introduction to the public was at an annual community event, the Mamma Mia cookoff – a celebration of Daphne’s Italian heritage sponsored by the city’s educational enrichment foundation. The response to the product spurred their initiative to bring the oil to local market shelves. Their hard work along with in store samplings have allowed them placement at Joe Patti’s Seafood and Apple Market in Pensacola, three Piggly Wiggly in the Birmingham area in addition to the Piggly Wiggly stores in Fairhope, Greer’s Fairhope Market, all of the Rouses Markets in Alabama and two locations in Foley, A Better Way Health Store and Burris Farm.
The family oil was branded Papa Vince in honor and appreciation of Grandpa Vincenzo Biondo who started as an apprentice in the olive orchards of the Castello Rampinzeri in Santa Ninfa, Italy. He mastered the art of raising the nocellara olive and the artisan trade of producing extra virgin olive oil. He often referred to his olive oil as “liquid gold”.
In 2008, the operation’s pressing facilities were updated to meet growing demand and also to  ensure the highest quality product. There is no waste at their facility. Byproducts consist only of compost used to fertilize the orchard and olive pellets which are a source of clean heating.
The Feo’s company is Mamma Mia USA and the product is distributed out of their warehouse in Gulf Shores. The product is grown, pressed and bottled on the property in Sicily. Their oil is contains immeasurable nutrients, polyphenols and antioxidants. Papa Vince’s extra virgin olive oil is 100% organic, is totally free of additives and is not blended with other oils like its competitors.
But the ultimate proof is in the taste the product. It’s flavorful and full bodied. You can taste and smell the freshness, the unique quality because it is not mixed with anything else. It is freshly squeezed olive. My words cannot fully describe the uniqueness of this products. To experience its’ full essence, you must taste it yourself.
Mamma Mia USA, 3757 Gulf Shores Pkwy, Gulf Shores (251) 269-6000
Facebook “Papa Vince Extra Virgin Olive Oil” • http://www.papavince.com

East Shore Cafe • Main Street • Daphne, AL

Proprietors Larry Mickleson & John Sibley

I’ve known these guys for quite a few years. They put out an incredible amount of food from a tiny kitchen with consistency and hardly any wait time.

The staff treats you like family because many of their patrons frequent the establishment to the extent that they might as well be. It’s a great place for breakfast, lunch or in between. (Dinner on Friday and Saturday evenings)

The Little Yellow Cottage on Main Street

To tempt your tummy, I snapped a few shots of what was coming out of the kitchen when I was last there…

Crab Cakes
Tybee Island Club
Muffaletta
Mystics’ Rueben
Cup & Board
Crab Cake Sandwich
Hummingbird Cake
Key Lime Pie

Here’s a link to their recent Feature Foodie Article that was published in The Eat Beat.

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