Written by Michael Nocella
If finding a cozy restaurant with a fresh, genuine Italian inspired menu in the Rivertowns happens to be one of your New Year’s resolutions, well, you’re in luck.
Rye Brook residents Scott and Heather Fratangelo plan to bring their vast and exciting culinary backgrounds to Ardsley with the opening of “L’inizio” by “early 2014.” The couple, who still considers themselves Westchester newbies (they moved to the area from Manhattan a few years ago), says the name of the restaurant is symbolic of their transition.
“L’inizio is Italian for 'to begin, to start',” Scott said. “So not only are we starting a new restaurant, but we’re starting the next chapter of our lives. We’re very excited a big part of that will happen in the Rivertowns.”
This will not be the Fratangelos first restaurant venture. The couple opened “Spigolo” in January 2005 in New York City's upper east side, which also served an Italian inspired menu. During their tenure there, Scott garnered significant critical recognition and awards, including:
- Two stars from Frank Bruni, The New York Times (2005)
- Michelin Guide Recommended Restaurant (2007-2012)
- Zagat’s Rated, 25 or higher for food every year since opening
- Voted “Best Neighborhood Italian Restaurant, New York Magazine (2006)
- Forbes Magazine “3 Star Eatery” (2008)
- Open Table Diner's Choice Award (2011)
- Forbes Dining Award (2011)
- Open Table Diner's Choice Award (2012)
The Fratangelos hope to find similar success in Ardsley, and noted the small-town feel as a perfect complement to their vision for L’inizio.
“We just want to share our food with people in a comfortable location,” Heather said. “We plan to put an emphasis on having the hospitalities you’d find in the comfort of your own home.”
Scott said the storefront, located 698 Saw Mill River Road in Ardsley – formerly the location of “Italian Kitchen” – is exactly what he had in mind for his next restaurant. He hopes the subdued nature of the location will, in time, help his business will fly under the radar with a sneaky good reputation.
“It’s a freestanding building with that classic New York City feel, but it sits in a quaint, small village,” he said. “I think that will help set standards that are not too high, and that way, our delivery will be way over what’s expected. That’s what we want to aspire to do.”
While Scott will be manning the appetizers and main courses, Heather will have her focus on desserts. This is her sweet spot, so to speak, as she is the executive pastry chef and sole proprietor of “Frosted Spoon Desserts,” a specialty dessert company serving Westchester County. Launched in 2011, her business has been featured regularly at private events in Westchester County.
Now, L’inizio will exclusively offer Frosted Spoon Desserts on its pastry menu.
“We’ll have a little bit of everything,” she said. “It will be Italian inspired desert, and we’re also working on getting an in-house ice cream machine.”
Keeping with the spirit of being a modern family run business, the Fratangelos will lean on Heather’s sister, Kristie Petrullo, and her business, “Petrullo Wine Consulting,” to create L’inizio’s wine list. The restaurant also expects to have a full liquor license in the near future.
“We really want to keep L’inizio in the family, and we really want to keep it local,” Heather said.
For Italian food fans in the Rivertowns, that news will be a good way to start the new year.