Angela Verrastro passes on her legacy to a new set of hands.
Angela Verrastro started her legacy right in her very own kitchen in 2005, making a variety of meals for friends and family from scratch. “I just bought some equipment and started, you know, emailing people every week on my email list, and it grew to the point where I had to call the health inspector,” she says. Verrastro was told to find a commercial kitchen right away, and within the following year, Angelia’s Kitchen was born. 18 years later, Verrastro is passing the torch down to her trusted friend and loyal customer, Kim Sayers.
Q: Tell us about your decision to sell Angelina’s Kitchen and the process of choosing the right person to take over such an established community restaurant.
Angela Verrastro (AV): I was starting to get tired. I felt like I wasn’t able to be as creative as I was in the early years, and I felt like it really needed to belong to somebody who could give this place the energy and creativity it deserves.
First, I spoke with my children to see if they would be interested in continuing, but you know, of course, it’s been my dream, not theirs. So, that being said I didn’t want to put it up for sale and open it up to just anybody. A little over a year ago, Kim, who’s been a long-time customer, who I’ve gotten to know, and grown to love, expressed an interest, and I could barely believe it. I started meeting with her last summer. It’s taken about a year to come to fruition, and I’m thrilled because I’ll say that Kim and I share a real passion for good food and taking care of people, and to me, those are the two most important elements of running Angelina’s Kitchen. The other things can be taught, people can learn supply, my role right now is to teach Kim those other things, the things that can be taught, the nuts and bolts of the day-to-day operations and the business end of things.
Q: Kim, what made you interested in purchasing Angelina’s Kitchen?
Kim Sayers (KS): Other than the passion that I have for taking care of people, my family and friends over the years, I am a caregiver, just by nature. It’s just natural. And as far as wanting to own a restaurant, it’s this specific restaurant that inspired me. It’s just the feel of it. It’s the tone that Angela has set. You have all different kinds of people coming from different backgrounds, enjoying the same thing at the same time. It’s beautiful. It’s a beautiful feeling here.
Q: What’s next for Angelina’s Kitchen?
KS: No plans to change anything. As far as exterior or interior, I don’t think so. Not anytime soon. Anyway, maybe down the road, but no plans in the near future. To persevere the integrity of the restaurant is the only reason that I’m involved. It wouldn’t be Angelina’s if I changed it.
Q: What’s next for you, Angela?
AV: You know, I actually haven’t thought that far ahead. Right now, my primary concern and task is to equip Kim as best as I can so that she can continue to provide what Angelina has provided to the community and its staff. There are a lot of people who depend on this place. Our team, our employees, as well as the neighborhood.
… I have grandchildren now. I will definitely spend more time with the people who, who mean a lot to me, my family, my close friends. You know, as you get older, you realize that there comes a time when you just reprioritize, and I’m in the process of doing that right now. I am not going to retire per se. I’m just going to reprioritize, and I’m sure I’ll find something that I have a passion for down the road.
Q: Kim, what are you most looking forward to as you begin your journey as a restaurant owner?
KS: Well, I think learning new things out of the ordinary keeps you young, and that’s exciting to me. Also, reassuring folks in Woodbury that I am coming from a customer’s perspective. You know, I understand what it means to them. And I want to make sure that everybody understands that I’m not changing anything, that I love it the way it is. Just like they did.
Q: Angela, what would you like your long-time customers to know before you go?
AV: I want to express a deep sense of gratitude to this community. And to and to the staff here because this is not a business that I built. This is a business that we built. You know, I’m always uncomfortable when a guest would say to me over the years, “Oh this is your place.” I’m always quick to say, “No, no, no, this is not my place. This is everyone’s place.” And I and I truly believe that, and that’s how I lived and worked these last 18 years. You know, somebody has to be in charge, but I do believe that more than anything, I’ve been a steward, and I couldn’t have done this without the support of the city of Woodbury. It’s the residents and the amazing staff that we have here.
Meet Kim Sayers
Sayers, current owner as of July, has some history when it comes to Italian food. Although born and raised in St. Paul, Sayers has always had a love for cooking, passed down from her Italian father and aunts, who taught her how to cook and make Italian sauces.
Sayers hopes her daughter, Maya, can help from time to time at the restaurant with social media. Having gone to art school at the College of Visual Arts and having a love for creative talent, Sayers plans to incorporate that into her food and newly handed down restaurant, Angelina’s Kitchen.