Godfather of Italian Dining celebrates 35 years.
Tony Cattafi, the Godfather of Italian dining in Australia – and owner of the nation’s first pasta house, La Spaghettata, is set to celebrate the famous restaurant with the announcement of 35 years in Carlton.
Following 35 years of creating authentic Italian dishes and experiences, Mr Cattafi’s vision for the iconic restaurant located on Melbourne’s famous Lygon Street has moved forward with the times with his two sons, Fabio and Mauro Cattafi appointed to take on the greater role in the strategic direction of the venue.
It is by all accounts the type of rags to riches story that makes Australia remain as one of the world’s most desired locations to holiday and migrate to.
Uneducated and unable to speak a word of English, and with barely a penny to his name, Tony Cattafi and his young wife, Giovanna took their first steps on Australian soil in 1950, arriving on a boat from Sicily, Italy.
With little more than the clothes on their backs and a willingness to work hard day after day, the Cattafis set about creating a place where people could come and enjoy the wholesome goodness and flavours of their Old Country.
In those early days Tony had a vision to feed the people of Australia, but he never dared to dream the small business he and Giovanna would go on to create, as much to make a living as it was to remind them of their homeland, would become a legacy that would continue for generations. Nor that the people of Melbourne would embrace their authentic Italian dishes and warm family hospitality with such gusto.
Today in 2016 that legacy, one of Australia’s most successful Italian restaurant businesses, will now become an intergenerational concern with the Italian pioneer’s two young sons playing a far more integral role in the venture.
“Fabio and Mauro have both grown up with La Spaghettata – this restaurant is as much a part of our family and their heritage as I am; but unlike my generation, my boys have also grown up in the technology era,” says Tony.
“While the formula for La Spaghettata has always been there, I am excited to see what modern influences the boys will bring to our business and especially in terms of how they engage with our growing online community.”
Tony believes social media and digital marketing are what will help ensure La Spaghettata is never lost in the sea of other restaurants that constantly come and go.
“Fabio and Mauro have the passion and the capacity to ensure La Spaghettata’s future right through another generation of Cattafi’s, and I am very proud and feel confident in having the boys work so closely alongside me in realising this dream.”
The iconic restaurant is already somewhat of a cult dining venue for celebrities, locals and tourists alike, all seeking a truly authentic Italian dining experience.
Serving on average 1,000 dishes per week for most of its 35 year history, and with 75% of those dishes being pasta, La Spaghettata has retained the Cattafi’s family heritage by combining the warmth and intimacy of a traditional Italian home with authentic dishes like bruschetta, pescatora and spaghetti marinara, the way mama used to make it.
According to eldest son Fabio you won’t find pre-made pasta anywhere in the house, with all sauces handmade onsite with the same love and passion they have been for the past 35 years.
“Every dish is made from scratch and we’re proud La Spaghettata is the first restaurant in the area to make fresh pasta onsite at the restaurant,” beams Fabio.
Fabio says in its entire 35 years the number one bestselling dish at La Spaghettata has been its Spaghetti Marinara, but that the sensory experience doesn’t end with great food.
“When guests walk into La Spaghettata they liken it to coming home.”
Loyal diners who have frequented La Spaghettata for decades are greeted with hugs, kisses and familiarity, as they pull up a chair in the authentic rustic farmhouse building.
It is according to Fabio a restaurant that puts all people at instant ease.
“People of all walks of life come here to not only enjoy genuine Italian cuisine but also to unwind and spend quality time with family and friends.”
The restaurant has welcomed many celebrities over the years, including Andrea Bocelli, Catriona Rowntree, Valentino Rossi, Kenny Rogers and many more.
“While our aim is not to alter any of the elements that have made La Spaghettata what it is today,” says Fabio “we are excited to be able to bring some of our own ideas to the table and to ensure the next generation of Australians also have an authentic Italian dining experience to call their own.”
One such innovation is the fabulous black and white high fashion Italian images projected from La Spaghettata’s ornate upper floor balcony.
“It’s a little bit glamorous and aligns beautifully with all the romance and history of Italian culture, plus it lights up the streets in a way that hasn’t been seen before.”
Increased social media activity is also expected to whet the appetites of a new and increasingly large well-travelled youth market.
“So many younger people have travelled to Europe and experienced real Italian food, so it is only natural they will be seeking that same quality of experience from their Italian food when dining at home in Australia; this is where social media will ensure they are aware of La Spaghettata.”
Sadly La Spaghettata, who is celebrating 35 years in business, is one of the few remaining family owned restaurants in the area and perhaps that’s because this charming house of Italian cuisine and merriment is not just another Italian Restaurant.
La Spaghettata delivers a truly authentic Italian experience, complete with traditional ingredients and recipes that go back for generations, and a host family whose sole purpose is to feed its guests well, make them feel comfortable, happy, contented and special; but most of all, to feel a part of the Cattafi family.
To celebrate 35 years of fine Italian food and culture with La Spaghettata, visit www.laspaghettata.com.au and make a booking.
And here is some more video fun! Click to watch a day in the life of La Spaghettata !!!