×

Chow Italia! Italian eatery coming to South Deerfield soon

  • A ‘coming soon’ sign hangs over the future home of Gianni Fig’s Ristorante Cuisine in the center of South Deerfield. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo



For the Bulletin
Thursday, April 27, 2017

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Italian cuisine is coming to the village center — Gianni Fig’s Ristorante Italian Cuisine is expected to open in May at the former Sienna Market.

“It’s the full experience. I’m not joking around,” said Italian Chef and Owner Gianni Calabrese Monday, standing on the steps of 6 Elm St. beneath a sign announcing his cuisine is “coming soon.”

Calabrese, originally from Italy’s Amalfi Coast, 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.

“Pasta is my strong point. But we’ll also have steak, fresh seafood, wings, and burgers,” he continued. In addition to food, the restaurant is seeking a liquor license so that it can feature a full martini list, beer and wine.

Along with Italian dishes, “I like new stuff, combinations. I like to experiment,” Calabrese said, estimating that renovations to the kitchen, bar and dining area will be completed in about “three weeks to a month.”

Then, pending a liquor license issued by the town, doors will open. Calabrese said he’s not ready to reveal what the inside will look like until closer to opening day.

Broadly speaking, he said the restaurant — employing about 15 people — will be “more on the casual side,” with an emphasis on good food and the dining experience. “I’m not a cheater with food. It’s going to be quality food with a good price,” Calabrese said. After opening, the restaurant will only be open for dinner at first, but that could change later.

When first scouting locations to open a restaurant — following a trip home to Italy, for the first time in 15 years — Calabrese said friends recommended Greenfield; however, he fell in love with South Deerfield’s quaint village center and the open storefront with green doors on Elm Street.

Noting a fine dining void with the announced closing of Chandler’s Restaurant, Calabrese said, “it’s a good vibe here. It will be a nice experience for me, and I think it will be good for the community.”