A Restaurant Run by Grandmothers Is as Homely as it Gets

Homemade Food

Enoteca Maria is a restaurant in Staten Island, New York, that brings a unique concept to its customers. Working with the belief that homemakers cook the best food, it has a distinctive crew – grandmothers. It started as a tribute to the ladies in the owner’s family including his sister, Nonna, and mother. Italian Joe Scaravella named the restaurant after his mother, Maria. With no experience or plans in mind, he started the restaurant in 2007, initially welcoming grandmas from his homeland. Eventually, in 2015, he started welcoming grandmas from all over the world.


Presenting generations of experience, every Nonna working at the restaurant has a similar experience of learning to cook from their childhoods. For three nights every week, Nonnas come together with their formidable culinary talents to cook up a storm for the customers of the restaurant. Coming from various parts of the world including Azerbaijan, Algeria, Syria, Japan, France, Bangladesh, etc., these grandmothers have been part of this system for a minimum of seven years, with Italy’s Gialanella cooking for over 10 years. Featuring a line of regular dishes that the ladies cook for their own families, too, the menu gives them a chance to showcase their own cultural cuisine through a variety of dishes like lasagna, rabbit, meatballs, and fish among others.

A Safe Haven

A Safe Haven

This place offers a much-needed way out for women in the winter of their lives, including some who don’t really have anybody but themselves. Spending their day at the restaurant, meeting many people, and cooking a huge variety of dishes lets them be themselves and also have an outlet for their emotions. The homely atmosphere of the restaurant, thanks to the Nonnas, has made it a fan-favorite among both locals and tourists. The restaurant also has Nonna’s Calendar with a clear schedule of the grandmas, including which days they are available at the restaurant.