Paolo Ristorante will open to the public on Wednesday May 8.
The restaurant, 208 Amity Road, is the former home of Antonio’s. New owners Paolo and Elena Iannaconne have spent the last 11 years working his aunt’s restaurant, Bin 100 in Milford. Their family members also own Luce in Hamden and Goodfellas in New Haven.
A broker suggested to Paolo that he look at the vacant restaurant space. He wasn’t familiar with Woodbridge but the broker insisted.
“When he came home from that visit he told me, ‘I felt the way I did when I first met you – I fell in love with the space,’” Elena said.
He likes that there’s a big bar with a small dining room and a back room. The high traffic volumes on Amity Road means he’s in a visible location and the large parking lot will benefit customers. “It’s exactly what I wanted,” he said.
“Opening a restaurant has been his dream forever,” Elena says of Paolo. “I love everything about restaurants,” he adds. “Plus, being Italian and having lived in Italy for so long food is a passion and a lifestyle for me.”
Paolo was born in Connecticut but his family moved back to Italy when he was 5 years old and he spent the next 25 years in Naples. He met Elena there and they moved to Connecticut shortly after having their first child.
Paolo says that he learned to cook from Elena who learned to cook from her father. “He doesn’t work in a restaurant but he’s the best chef I know,” says Paolo. She plans to run the front of the house at the restaurant but will also be involved in the kitchen.
The quality of the food is very important to Paolo. “If we can match at the restaurant the quality of food that we produce at home, I’ll be very happy,” he says.
In the beginning the restaurant will only serve dinner but once the kitchen has settled into a routine and any kinks are resolved adding a lunch menu will be the next step. The restaurant will be open Tuesday through Sunday.