is a family-owned and operated Italian restaurant committed to delivering large portions of quality food at reasonable prices to its customers.
After owning Cousins Café in Hartford for eight years and the pizza/grinder shop Johnny’s for 16 years in East Hartford, Enzo DeNovellis’s boys encouraged him to open another restaurant in Rocky Hill where his family grew up. DeNovellis will be celebrating its sixth anniversary on April 19, according to Enzo.
Enzo, who has lived in town since 1988, said a lot of Italian restaurants carry Italian names, but they do not have Italians cooking and preparing the meals.
“We are Italian,” Enzo, who does most of the cooking, explained.
DeNovellis, which has many repeat customers, allows families to get a “nice dinner” as well as pizza and grinders without breaking the bank, Enzo said. His eatery offers many choices for children as well as adults, he added.
“We stay busy because it is a family thing,” Enzo said.
Even with the economic recession, Enzo has prided himself on keeping his prices and portions reasonable.
“I think the price is fair and the portions are very fair,” he said. He added that many of the customers share a dish and he does not charge plate fees, which they appreciate it.
“I can’t see charging someone five dollars for a dish to share a meal,” Enzo said.
Though DeNovellis specializes in pizza, pasta and grinders, it is known for such signature dishes as Chicken Casa Loma, which is chicken on or off the bone with a spicy pepper sauce and garlic cloves, and Chicken Enzo, which is a chicken breast with eggplant, fresh mozzarella, a touch of pesto and a little marina sauce.
The restaurant, which won the Patch Polls for and , has several dishes named after family members. Customers are allowed to change or add heat to each dish.
“We will accommodate anyone,” Enzo said. “If it is not on our menu and we can make it. We will make it.”
In the next five years, Enzo expects to be still working in the kitchen at DeNovellis and for many years to come. He hopes to eventually turn the restaurant over to his sons some day.
"I will be in back overseeing everything," Enzo said.
DeNovellis is open Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and Sunday 5 to 9 p.m. DeNovellis is closed on Mondays. For more information, visit the restaurant’s website or call them at 860-563-4474.