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New Park Slope Eatery Promises Not To Serve 'Fake Italian Food'

By Leslie Albrecht | August 6, 2015 8:50am | Updated on August 7, 2015 6:25pm
 Pastificio Flora's co-owners plan to serve authentic food inspired by life in smalltown southern Italy.
New Park Slope Eatery Promises Not to Serve 'Fake Italian Food'
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PARK SLOPE — There won't be a statue of an old man with an enormous moustache holding a "sad-looking pizza" at the new Italian restaurant opening on the corner of Eighth Avenue and 11th Street, the co-owners told DNAinfo New York.

The team behind Pastificio Flora say they plan to destroy that outdated stereotype at their eatery, which will specialize in authentic dishes and shun menu items that most Americans consider classic Italian cooking.

"We want to talk about real Italy, about food, real Italian food," co-owner Emiliano Cammardella said in an email about his new venture, which was first reported by Here's Park Slope. "We want to bring to New York the 'aroma' of our country, of our beautiful area."

Cammardella, a designer who's worked at a Manhattan architectural firm for the past few years, said he was inspired to open Pastificio Flora after countless conversations with Americans about his home country's culinary heritage.

When someone asked him for his family recipe for chicken parmigiana, he was shocked.

"In my entire life I [had] never heard of it and at that moment I knew that this city needed to meet not only the real recipes of my tradition, but the Italian way of [life] that pervades everything, especially the relationship we have with food."

Cammardella, who's starting the restaurant with his sister and a friend, comes from Vallo di Diano, a town in southern Italy that he described as "a magical place just between the sea of Cilento and hills of Lucania."

Cammardella said daily life in the small town is a parade of "fresh, tasty food" from breakfast to dinner, and that Sunday lunch is usually a multi-hour meal for 20 that feels similar to a wedding party.

In that spirit, Pastificio Flora will serve breakfast, lunch and brunch, but not dinner. It will emphasize fresh pasta. Ingredients will mostly be imported from Italy and from Cammardella's own family farm, which produces fruit, vegetables, olive oil and wine. The eatery will be modeled after the “Pastificio, Alimentari, Emporio” businesses once common in Italy, where people could stop in for a quick bite to eat made from fresh ingredients throughout the day. Breakfast will include espresso, cappuccino and Italian pastries. The lunch menu will include panini, pasta salad, ravioli, salumi, cheeses as well as regional specialties and fresh pastas.

The space, which was formerly a bodega, will have an open kitchen and a modern, minimal interior based on Italian design of the 1950s and '60s, Cammardella said.

The goal of Pastificio Flora is to offer something besides the "fake Italian food" and "fake Italian menus" commonly found at New York restaurants, Cammardella said.

"The majority are just 'Italian sounding restaurants' with an outdated stereotyped menu and interiors made of wood, red-checked tablecloth, wine bottles, barrels, wagon wheels, fishing nets and the statue of 'the dear old little man' with [an] enormous moustache holding a sad looking pizza," Cammardella said.

"Truth is, they are funny, and sometimes I even like my country portrayed in such a merry way but, this is not what we want to do."