Opened in July 2006, Angelina’s Kitchen has become a Woodbury mainstay. But 14 years after opening, almost everything about the Italian restaurant has changed.
Owner Angela Verrastro grew up in the Bronx, where her grandmother, Angelina, ran the neighborhood Italian grocer/luncheonette. “As I watched her taking care of her neighbors and family, my passion for good food took root in my heart,” she says.
After moving to Woodbury in 2000, and spending a year in Belgium, Verrastro wanted to seriously consider a cooking career. In 2005, she began delivering meals to families. In 2006, Angelina’s Kitchen opened. “We started with take-and-bake [items] and catering,” Verrastro says. “We hired a food scientist in 2008 … So that we could sell our meals at places like Kowalski’s and Fresh and Natural markets.”
After two and a half years selling wholesale, Verrastro had a second realization that wholesale wasn’t working out for the business. Angelina’s Kitchen morphed into a café before transforming into the full-service restaurant—including the wine bar, event space and live music daily—we all know and love.
Verrastro’s favorite Angelina’s menu items include the eggplant Parmesan, one of her grandmother’s recipes, spinach lasagna and the plant-based Italian veggie sauté. As for wines, she’s partial to the Italian varietals, including the vernaccia, which is Tuscan, and valpolicella, hailing from Veneto.
Today in the midst of COVID-19, Angelina’s Kitchen has reverted to the take-and-bake and carry-out options.
“Our team takes great pride in being able to do this during this challenging time and we sincerely appreciate the amazing support we have received from the community,” Verrastro says. “Our ability to respond to the needs of the community and make changes when needed, I think, has been our biggest strength over the years. This has never been more apparent than now.”