A Slice of Sunny Sicily

February 9, 2016
A Slice of Sunny Sicily

Handmade, homemade in Little Italy

Tom Okal

1900. Ellis Island, New York. A line of immigrants forms. They are weary and wary. They wait. The homes they’ve left behind are miles away in sunny Southern Italy--Sicily, Abruzzo, Campania, Calabria. They bring their culture. Their work ethic. Their kitchen traditions. They will start their new lives in our Eastern cities. Their most valuable possession is hope.

Fast forward to 1965 or 1985 or today. Another line forms. It is filled with nurses, professors, families and students from all over the world on daddy’s dime. They wait. But they are happy in hungry anticipation. The line is out the door of Mama Santa’s restaurant in Cleveland’s Little Italy.

In 1961, a hope was realized when Guido and Nancy Scaffidi opened Mama Santa’s. In every year since, Cleveland has dined on the finest of Sicilian fare. Cannelloni. Manicotti. Cavatelli and meatballs. Veal Parmigiana. Chicken Cacciatore. And pizza... glorious, award-winning, addicted-for-life pizza. This is the food that satisfies more than hunger. This is nourishment on another level. All homemade, all very moderately priced.

Named in honor of Nancy's mother, Santa Ignazzito, Mama Santa’s is in the heart of a vibrant, always-bustling Little Italy, surrounded by other restaurants, boutiques and amazing bakeries. The family atmosphere is just as a Mama would want it: Warm, relaxed, a little worn. No frills. Food focused. So make yourself at home.

There may be a line, but it’s worth the wait.

Hungry for more? Go to mamasantas.com.

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