Italian Ristorante finds home in S. Deerfield village center

  • Patrons enjoy a soft opening of GianniFig’s Ristorante Sunday night. The restaurant is set to open today ata 4 p.m. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • GianniFig’s Ristorante in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • GianniFig’s Ristorante in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • GianniFig’s Ristorante in South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

Recorder Staff
Monday, August 14, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — GianniFig’s Ristorante on Elm Street in the village center is open for business as of this evening.

“It’s wonderful. Generous portions, reasonable prices. They deserve to be successful, and this town deserves a nice restaurant,” said Fran Richard, who traveled from New York for the Italian restaurant’s soft opening Sunday night.

Doors opened to customers at 4 p.m, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2.

Richard noted she found “the size of the menu very surprising.”

Along with typical Italian offerings, pasta, sausage, and lasagna, GianniFig’s plans on serving American dishes including chicken wings served with house barbecue sauce.

“There are a lot of good items on the menu, we’re making everything from scratch,” Owner and Italian Chef Gianni Calabrese said, pausing on his way back to the kitchen.

Originally from Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Calabrese hopes to become an American citizen at the end of the month. He spent five years at an Italian culinary school and has worked in many restaurants “from Springfield to Boston” since 2002. Among those restaurants are Typical Sicilian Ristorante and Red Rose, both in Springfield.

Most recently, Calabrese owned Emma’s Everyday Gourmet in Westfield. After five years there, he sold the business to his partner in November.

When first looking for a place to open a new restaurant — following a trip home to Italy, for the first time in 15 years — he fell in love with South Deerfield’s village center, and the open storefront at 6 Elm St., the former Sienna Market.

Since announcing plans in April, Calabrese has helped with most of the renovations. But he still has more to do, such as getting a liquor license. For now, it’s “bring your own beer.”

Sunday’s soft opening was a success. “The veal was so thin, and moist. Tasty, so tasty,” commented John Kokoski of Hadley.

You can reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

or 413-772-0261, ext. 263

On Twitter: @AndyCCastillo