Cucina Italiana: How it was meant to be...

By+Bernie Williamson, Photos by David Hubler

If you’re fortunate enough to actually be Italian, you’ve known since you ate your first bowl of Aglio et Olio with your fingers that a great meal is a sensory experience-one that contains taste, smell, sight, sound and yes, even touch. But more than that, a truly great meal evokes a feeling of well-being, creates an experience and leaves you with satisfied for long after the meal is done.

Arturo DiRosa, owner of three successful family-run Italian restaurants in Indianapolis-and the newly opened Capri Cucina Italian in Granger-explains it best when he tells of a time as a young man in Italy when he would take his dates to a little restaurant that one wouldn’t consider at first glance: it was small and not particularly well appointed, but it was clean and comfortable. The food was good, and the people made him feel welcome; everyvisit left him feeling satisfied. It wasn’t one thing that pleased him, it was everything-the whole experience. It was at that point that he knew that attention to detail can create an experience you want to repeat again and again.

Time travel a few decades forward and DiRosa’s Capri Cucina Italian is on its way to be exactly that: the whole package. If “on its way” sounds less than laudatory, it’s only because DiRosa is a realist. In spite of the fact that Capri Cucina Italian mirrors the qualities of DiRosa’s other very successful restaurants, he cautions that people are different in the north compared to the south. This latest venture, like a new baby, has to be introduced to the community.

“People can read reviews and search on the Internet, but it’s not the same as experiencing something yourself,” says DiRosa. “It takes time. People come in and they find what they like, then they come back. And most of the time, they order the same thing. They want to have that experience again.”

Evan as DiRosa speaks, the evolution of Capri continues with an open house to introduce event planners to the menu and the newly completed banquet facility. In this warm, bright, comfortable and impeccably clean banquet room, the luncheon begins with fresh, homemade pastas and select specialty items prepared and presented expertly. The air is filled with delightful smells from the kitchen and the crooning sounds of Frank Sinatra. And then, to round it all out, a wait-staff that was clearly selected because of its ability to be attentive, but not intrusive, knowledgeable but not overbearing and to cater to a diner’s every need; you feel welcome. Because you are.

In true Italian style, the casual conversation about DiRosa’s vision for Capri approaches two hours. Where did the time go? Was it the food? The wine? The setting? Perhaps it was the warm conversation or the wafting smells of Pennetta Bosciaola that carried the words away? Or maybe it was everything-the whole package. Perhaps you will have to visit Capri yourself to find out.

Capri is located at 50827 Princess Way, Granger, tucked away off of Indiana 23. The restaurant can be contacted at 574-271-1500.


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