Dining in Italy is an experience and typically a family event, where hours of preparation are followed by hours of eating a freshly prepared, multiple-course meal.
For Nicola and Maria Simone, it’s that Italian experience that they want to bring to your home.
The name of their new restaurant sums it up: A Casa Tua translates “To your home.”
A Casa Tua, located at 8208 Cortez Road W., is strictly a delivery and catering authentic Italian restaurant, and when it comes to authentic, so are the Simones.
The couple moved from Italy to Miami two years ago and, after running a restaurant there for a year, sold it and moved to Bradenton to open their newest venture.
Nicola Simone has 25 years of experience cooking in restaurants in Italy.
“The concept of this business is every ingredient is fresh, no frozen nothing,” Nicola Simone said, apologizing, “For my English is no very good, but I’m working hard. Everything fresh. Fresh pasta, fresh meatball and organic from a farm near this zone. The target of this business is people make order before — and then fresh food.”
Nicola Simone went to culinary school in northern Italy in Torino, working later for his father in a restaurant in Tuscany, where he learned the value and importance of using only fresh ingredients and making everything from scratch.
Maria Simone said they moved to Miami without knowing much about the area and, while they enjoyed the city, “It was too big. We sold and moved to a smaller community where it’s more American and less touristy.”
Maria Simone said a lot of her Miami patrons vacation in the Bradenton area, and they told the couple how nice it is here.
“We are happy to come to Bradenton,” she said. “A lot of people have asked us why Bradenton, and the answer is, we were looking for a small community. We both grew up in small towns. I enjoyed Miami, but it was too chaotic and we needed something different. We came here and it’s nice, quiet and was the right choice. It’s a beautiful place.”
A Casa Tua opened three weeks ago with its unique “Bring Italy to you” philosophy. The Simones also offer Italian cooking classes. A schedule is listed on their Facebook page, or check their website for more information at acasatuachef.com for their full menu options. They can be reached at 941-251-6855.
Because having great food, great time with great people in the comfort of your home is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Nicola Simone, executive chef at A Casa Tua
They are open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and their next cooking class is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday. Larger groups can schedule a private class.
Maria Simone said the concept of families eating at home together is important to the couple, because that’s the way it’s done in Italy.
“The idea is a small store with takeout and delivery to bring a little piece of Italy to your home,” she said. “It’s a small menu so everything is fresh.”
Nicola sums up the importance of the home-dining experience on his website: “We put love in every dish, to cuddle you when you enjoy it at your home, the best place in the world with your family and friends. Because having great food, great time with great people in the comfort of your home is the most beautiful thing in the world.”
Maria Simone said Nicola grew up in a large family, “and what usually happens is all the family eats together at the same time. Grandmother wakes up at 4 a.m. to start preparing and maybe by 4 p.m. you are finished eating. In Italy, you start with an antipasta and you take your time. The first dish is pasta and you take your time, then the protein and you take your time, and then you have dessert.
“Maybe in three hours you are finished with the meal.”
Americans are different in the way dinner is experienced, and the Simones have adapted their menu to accommodate. Maria Simone said chicken parmigiana is an example, because it’s the protein and pasta on the same plate.
But the love that comes from the kitchen to your table is as authentic Italian as it gets.
“If you think Italian, this is the idea we want to bring to your home,” she said.