Food, Family, Art & Yes, Garlic Rolls at Cappelletti

Posted on 19 February 2010

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A fifth generation chef, Luigi Tagliasacchi has spent over 30 years cultivating his craft and learning the business of food. At his most recent venture, Noyac’s Cappelletti Italian Restaurant, Tagliasacchi has found a home where family-friendly, yet sophisticated cuisine is paired with family, art and a lot of love.

In the restaurant business since the age of 14, Tagliasacchi was raised in a culinary tradition, under the wing of his father Jack, who owns Sag Harbor’s Il Cappuccino and once owned East Hampton’s Il Monastero with his son. A native of Parma Italy, the elder Tagliasacchi also owned a restaurant at Sag Harbor’s Barons Cove, along with a plethora of locations including Argentine and Miami.

Luigi, following in the footsteps of his father, studied in Parma, created cuisine at the renowned Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, and was often a partner in his father’s businesses locally before branching out on his own. His experience in Parma, he said over coffee on a snowy Tuesday morning at Cappelletti, gave Luigi an appreciation for a slower, more specialized European understanding of dining, and more importantly, cooking.

“It was a slower lifestyle, a different lifestyle,” he said. “And for me to be taught by these amazing chefs was exceptional.”

During the course of Luigi’s culinary education, he honed his craft with Italian chefs, naturally, as well as French, Irish and Japanese chefs – an experience he said has given him both confidence and perspective in his own endeavors.

“I work seven days a week and make sure we have fresh, organic products here,” he said. “The fish comes in daily, and we age our steaks 90 days. I don’t know anyone else locally who does that.”

In 1993, Luigi and his wife Robin, an artist, opened Espressos Market in Sag Harbor, after the chef realized life in the restaurant business was not nearly as important as raising his children.

“It was right up the street from Stella Maris, the elementary school, Pierson,” he said, noting Robin searched out the space and knew this was a business the family could excel in while watching their children grow up.

As with Cappelletti, Luigi’s priority at Espresso revolved around quality ingredients prepared with care. After 12 successful years, Luigi, in an admittedly abrupt fashion, sold Espresso to take care of his ill mother in Florida.

“I figured I am not going to get another walk through this life, and I only get one mom, so that was important to me,” he said.

Just three months later, after the passing of his mother, Luigi realized Florida was not home and began scouting restaurant locations on the East End, eventually settling on his Noyac Road establishment – a former Thai restaurant and bar in need of a full restoration. Luigi and Robin, whose art the chef proudly displays on every wall of Cappelletti, have owned the restaurant for four years now.

Noyac, Luigi said, is just beginning to develop into its own commercial setting boasting restaurants like Cappelletti and Oasis, both of which have developed a popular following on the East End.

Cappelletti’s menu is varied and deep – at lunch and dinner – and ever changing to suit seasonal foods and customer favorites.

“I try to hit every spectrum,” said Luigi. “We do beef, chicken, fish, homemade pastas, in the summer we even do a little sushi, but we just touch on that when the product is right. We are traditionally a Northern Italian restaurant, but we do cater to families.”

Luigi said his goal is to be as inclusive as possible, able to serve the family looking for a hearty bowl of pasta, as well as a high end clientele seeking fine dining. Lunch service and take-out are also popular at Cappelletti.

“Ninety percent of the time I always knew this is what I wanted to do because it is fun and it is creative,” said Luigi. “It is really a passion for life. We all care about what we are doing here. We have fun, but we do take everything to heart.”

Cappelletti Italian Restaurant, located at 3284 Noyac Road, is open for lunch, dinner and take-out service seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., additionally offering catering and full bar service. For more information, or reservations, call 725-7800.

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