North Coventry >> A familiar face at a familiar place has returned to the area.

Vittorio’s Trattoria has reopened in the Suburban Shopping Center off of Route 100, with the original owner Vittorio Ottaviano.

The restaurant opened Nov. 18 in the same location where it had been from 2008 until it closed in June 2015 when Ottaviano decided to open in Ocean City, N.J.

“I feel like I never left, and now I’m back,’ he said in a recent interview. “I hope the local people understand the quality of my food and service and support a local small businessman.”

Ottaviano said the return to the area happened so smoothly, it has “given me chills.”

He said the family came back to the area for an event in Reading, and decided to drive by the old location. He said the location was empty, but a statue that had been outside the restaurant when he operated it was still there.

“We decided to reopen and sat down with the landlord to work out the details,” he said. “What was weird was — we got the same phone number we had before. I don’t know if it was a coincidence or a sign.”

When Ottaviano decided to open in Ocean City, he said he didn’t want to have two locations, so the decision was made to close the North Coventry restaurant.

“We were going on vacation to Ocean City, and for whatever reason we passed by a place at 1018 Asbury Ave., a little store for rent as a restaurant,” Ottaviano said. “I wasn’t sure at first, but my family said ‘let’s give it a chance.’ So we did.”

Ottaviano said he partnered with his son-on-law Claudio Mamo, who runs the Ocean City restaurant and is also in the kitchen there.

That first summer, Ottaviano said the restaurant in Ocean City was very busy, and the plan was to keep it open year-round.

“The first year was okay. Then last year, we tried to stay open all year again, but the weather wasn’t good. So this year we decided not to take a chance keeping it open all year,” he added. The Ocean City location will open for Valentine’s weekend, according to Ottaviano, and will reopen as summer approaches.

While Vittorio’s Trattoria is in the same North Coventry location customers remember — some things may be a little different.

The North Coventry restaurant has been redone with a rustic Mediterranean décor. The granite floor Ottaviano installed about four years ago remains, but new furniture complements the new terra-cotta wall color, and a television mounted on the wall can be set to display a fireplace scene or scenes from Rome and other spots in Italy.

What hasn’t changed is the selection of food the restaurant offers. Ottaviano, who was born in Rome, Italy, said some of the recipes have been handed down through his family while others are classic international dishes.

Ottaviano himself did not attend culinary school, but has spent 30 years in the food industry.

“I know food. I never went to culinary school, but over the years, I learned through working with chefs in Italy and Philadelphia,” he said, adding that while he is not in the kitchen as much as he used to be, he has taught his recipes to others.

These days, Ottaviano handles the daily prep work, planning the daily specials and all the buying for the restaurant. He works with Italian food suppliers and travels to Philadelphia’s Fish Market for the restaurant’s fish selections. Ottaviano said Pottstown’s Positively Pasta is a supplier of pasta for the restaurant and makes items to his specifications.

Ottaviano said there are a couple of dishes he is known for, including Osso Buco – which is a braised veal shank; and Beef Braciole, which Ottaviano said is a recipe that was passed from his grandmother to his mother to him.

“We are fine dining in a North Coventry shopping center,” he added.

Vittorio’s Trattoria in North Coventry has seating for about 80 people and is a BYOB establishment. The restaurant is open for dinner from 4 to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 4 to 9:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday; closed on Monday. Reservations are recommended. Private luncheon parties can be scheduled.

New Year’s Eve will feature three dinner seatings and live entertainment at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. Reservations are required for New Year’s Eve.

For more information call 610-323-3725 or visit www.vittoriorestaurant.com/ or <URL destination="http://www.facebook.com/vittoriospa ">www.facebook.com/vittoriospa

Email business story ideas to business editor drovins@pottsmerc.com

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