For Adriano Ciocca, being raised in an Italian household and following his instincts fostered a dream of owning an Italian restaurant. And at 33, Ciocca’s dream essentially has doubled. He now owns two Italian restaurants.
Adriano’s Cucina Italiana is located in Somerton at the intersection of Byberry Road and Bustleton Avenue, and his new establishment Simpatico! — a BYOB — is located just a few minutes away in Huntingdon Valley on Huntingdon Pike.
Growing up, Ciocca regularly made homemade pastas, wine and tomato sauce as well as specialty meats including prosciutto and capicola. And his early culinary experiences were supplemented by working at his godfather’s pizzeria from ages 15 to 20.
“It’s all about the culture and family upbringing,” Ciocca said. “It all correlates.”
Moreover, Ciocca said that Italian food is a piece of culture anyone can relate to — Italian or not — because of the overall arching presence of Italian culture in the United States. Italian food, according to Ciocca, is enjoyed because of its freshness but also because of its authenticity and homemade quality.
Today, as the owner of two restaurants, Ciocca incorporates and underlines the important cultural staple of homemade dishes in the menus of both locations.
But homemade dishes are just one part of an overall sense of familiarity Ciocca cultivates in the atmosphere and customer service of both establishments.
“When you come in, you know who I am [and experience] friendly staff and good service, but most importantly a neighborhood feel,” Ciocca said.
In fact, Ciocca maintains that the central rewards of the restaurant business reside in the rapport that is developed with customers over the years. For example, customers often will hold family parties or other events at his establishments, then will reach out to Ciocca again to hold another event.
“It’s not even about the business,” Ciocca said. “You develop a relationship, a friendship with the customer, and that is very, very critical.”
Moreover, in operating both restaurants, Ciocca emphasizes staying sharp.
“You have to be innovative,” Ciocca said. “You have to be on top of everything.”
According to Ciocca, this includes everything from avidly reading various restaurant magazines and cookbooks to also visiting Italy to observe the latest trends; Ciocca last visited Italy in May.
“You have to be aware of your surroundings and be a voice for your customers and your employees,” Ciocca said.
In doing so, both restaurants allow Ciocca and his staff to provide the same offerings of good prices, great service, quality homemade food and a deep dedication to customer care with the benefit of serving and branching out into different areas.
“We’re doing great over there [Simpatico!], and we’re doing great at Adriano’s,” Ciocca said. “It’s rewarding.”
Individuals can follow both restaurants on Facebook to obtain information on updates and specials. ••