Staten Island Restaurant Known For Serving Up Grandma’s Cooking Finding New Ways To Pay Bills During Pandemic – CBS New York

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island restaurant known for serving grandma’s secret recipe is adapting to pay the bills during the pandemic.

May “Dolly Josepf is a Staten Island grandma originally from Sri Lanka.

“I love to cook,” she told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

She is one of the 30 “nonnas” from around the world who normally rotates as head chef at Enoteca Maria on Hyatt Street in St. George, each serving their own authentic recipes.

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“You have your grandmother who is right there in the kitchen. She’s cooking for you, she comes out and she wants to know how you like her food, and people are hugging the nonnas,” restaurant owner Jody Scaravella said.

“Everyone comes, says, ‘thank you Dolly for the food, it was so good,’” Josepf said.

But that all came to an end when the pandemic hit in March.

Enoteca Maria’s kitchen space is tight, so the restaurant owner doesn’t want to reopen and put his staff’s health at risk. (Credit: CBS2)

“The last seven months that we’ve been closed, most of that, I’ve just felt paralyzed,” Scaravella said.

The space in the restaurant’s kitchen is tight, so Scaravella doesn’t feel comfortable reopening right now even for outdoor dining because he doesn’t want to put the health of the nonnas at risk.

“You have to reinvent yourself, so that’s what we’re trying to do right now,” Scaravella said.

He came up with the idea to have his nonnas bottle their homemade sauces — or in Dolly’s case, her curry powder — so customers can try to recreate grandma’s cooking at home.

The nonnas of Enoteca Maria are selling their special sauces while the restaurant remains closed. (Credit: CBS2)

“It’s just a warm, comforting feeling,” Scaravella said.

Josepf can’t wait to cook for a crowd at the restaurant again soon.

“It is nice here. You enjoy, you meet people, and everybody’s nice to you,” she said.

But for now, she’s happy to share that secret recipe from her home to yours.


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