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Owners of the new Mario's Restaurant and Pizzeria promise patrons more than just Italian dishes made from scratch with the freshest ingredients -- they guarantee an authentic Italian dining experience unlike any other available in the area.
"I don't see a lot of true Italian restaurants around here," co-owner and executive chef Gennaro de Liso said. "I think people want the real experience where people speak broken English with heavy Italian accents, like me. ... When you go to an Italian restaurant, you want someone to talk to you about the dishes and make it enjoyable."
De Liso, 42, originally of Naples, Italy, said he brings more than 30 years of experience to Mario's kitchen, having worked throughout the country from San Diego to Tampa, Fla., to New York, and points in
Most of the restaurant's staff is Italian, de Liso said.
The menu offerings -- with various pasta, pizza, meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes -- reflect southern Italian cuisine where food is simple, not too heavy and with an emphasis on freshness, de Liso
He believes in making the dining experience a pleasure for everyone. Have a special request? Just ask and Mario's will accommodate, de Liso said. Or leave the selection up to de Liso and he promises to deliver something delicious.
The restaurant opened Wednesday at 1430 Ribaut Road near the intersection with Lady's Island Drive. Several restaurants have operated in the building, including an Italian eatery and a steakhouse. More recently, the site was Silvi's European Cafe and then, briefly,
Before Mario's opened, the building got a fresh coat of paint inside and out, with a focus on creating a warm and inviting atmosphere, de Liso said.
De Liso said he chose Port Royal for Mario's after visiting the area, where he found the town unique and the people gentle.
Marketing manager Kirsten Lamb said the restaurant's second floor is designed for larger parties.
"We're hoping to tap into larger groups, especially military families in town for graduations," Lamb said.
The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. daily. For information, call 843-379-2002.