'La Nonna' Takes South Italy to Williamsburg Waterfront

By Meredith Hoffman on November 20, 2012 8:18am 

WILLIAMSBURG — On a recent chilly afternoon, diners packed into La Nonna pizzeria on Bedford Avenue, many speaking in their native Italian language and feasting on authentic pasta dishes, to get a little taste of home.

And now the restaurant has its eyes set on expanding — a waterfront condo building just a few blocks at 184 Kent Avenue.

"It's twice the size," Ana Morena, the wife and business partner of the restaurant's popular chef, Cono Morena.

The new spot will have a fully stocked bar and will serve their traditional menu, except for the pizza.

"The pizza will stay here," she said of the Bedford Avenue spot.

The reputation of La Nonna has been established with longtime customers who keep coming back for, among other reasons, its authentic Southern Italian flair.

"I've been coming here since the week they opened," said Anthony Varuzza, as he sipped on red wine after his lunch of grilled seafood and arugula salad.

Varuzza added that Cono Morena's culinary commitment is the real secret of his success.

"He's self-taught, so he has a passion," he said. "He's on top of everything, and that's what makes this place good."

For La Nonna devotees like Varuzza, the expansion — slated for April or May next year — is another chance to find true Italian dining in the neighborhood.

"These people came from the same town as my parents," Varuzza said, speaking of Teggiano in Southern Italy.

Franco Agrusa, who dined with Varuzza one recent afternoon, also said that there were few authentic Italian restaurants in La Nonna's section of Williamsburg.

"The chef is unbelievable, consistent," Agrusa said. 

The only warning Anna Morena doled out to new customers was that they might have to wait a while for their food.

"He makes everything fresh, on the spot," she explained. "This is what my husband has always wanted to do."

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement