SOUTHINGTON – The new owners of Fratelli’s Italian Restaurant will reopen Tuesday after renovations and a menu refresh.
David and Bruno Carabetta decided to sell the business after starting the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike restaurant in 1989. The Carabettas closed the restaurant in June, saying it was time to retire after so long in the restaurant industry.
Hector and Jose Delgado run Flair Restaurant as well as Mix Fine Cakes & Pastries, both in downtown Southington. The father-son duo knew the Carabetta brothers as fellow restaurateurs and began discussions about buying Fratelli’s when they heard the brothers were looking to leave the restaurant business.
Jose Delgado hopes people will try the new Fratelli’s and doesn’t expect patrons to be disappointed.
“We’re going to put love in every single dish,” he said Monday.
The restaurant’s dining room and bar were renovated and new tables, chairs and other furniture added. The new look goes along with a new menu, which has some of the old classics with small changes as well as new dishes altogether.
Jose Delgado listed some of the menu items: beef meatballs over creamy polenta, veal parm with penne alla vodka, linguine with clams, chicken piccata and a “very tender” 24-oz pork osso bucco.
“It’s a very small menu – it’s only about 18 items – but we make everything here,” he said. The smaller menu lets them keep good quality control on all the items and allows better preparation.
Opening Fratelli’s also meant expanding their team of employees.
“We expanded our team a lot. We have a lot more people. We definitely can’t do it ourselves,” Jose Delgado said. “My dad and I will be here in the beginning a little bit more, (but) we’re not going sprinting between Flair and Fratelli’s.”
The restaurant will be open Monday through Saturday from 4-8:30 p.m.
Barbara Coleman-Hekeler, Greater Southington Chamber of Commerce president, was at Fratelli’s for a soft open on Monday. She was impressed with the Delgados’ entrepreneurial drive and their skill in the kitchen.
“They know the restaurant business super well,” she said. “It makes a difference when you know how to operate a business and also have a good quality product to put out.”
Coleman-Hekeler expected the new Fratelli’s to be a hit and urged people to make reservations before going.
“I do think it’s going to be superbly popular,” she said. “It’s absolutely beautiful. I love the intimate, elegant dining that’s in there.”
The Carabettas bought the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike property in 1986 and spent the next few years building the restaurant, which they opened two and a half years later. Even though retired, their mother Elena Carabetta was often at the restaurant helping make food, bringing her boys lunch or just spending time with them. The name of the restaurant, which is “brothers” in Italian, refered to the family nature of running the eatery.