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The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same at Cavatore

The tortellini is delicious, while the Caesar salad is made at your table.
The tortellini is delicious, while the Caesar salad is made at your table.
Photo by Leonel Nerio

"We needed to change with the times to reach the same audience while bringing in new clientelle," said Federico Cavatore, explaining some of the recent changes to his family's 30 year old Italian restaurant housed in a 100 year old barn on Ella, and the subject of this week's cafe review. "We've incorporated whole wheat pastas and gluten free pastas. We have a gentleman who brings in fresh pasta early in the morning. We started that about six months back."

Those pastas come in myriad forms, ranging from the serviceable (lasagna) to surprisingly elegant (Tortellini Con Panna). If the restaurant can learn the same restraint and delicacy shown in the latter, this could be a serious pasta place.

The restaurant still feels largely the same, despite the newly paved parking lot, but that's exactly how the Cavatore family wants things. This is, after all, a multi-generational family restaurant.

"We have a collage of baby photos in the entry" says Cavatore, "and now those babies are adults bringing in their own kids."

That kind of continuity is what keeps this restaurant a family favorite. It's the kind of place you went to with your parents, celebrating a school play or some other minor milestone. It's the place you take your kids because it's the place your parents took you. You might even bump into your parents; they still eat at Cavatore.

I'm pretty confident my kids will ask to go back; they were kinder toward the lasagna, and the ravioli, and the various fried appetizers. They liked the ramshackle kitsch of the place, oohed and aahed over the table-side Caesar Salad preparation (I even got one of them to try an anchovy), and relished the guessing game that seemed to accompany each jazzed up piano rendition of pop standards, plinked out by a rotating cast of live musicians. I'll be happy to go back, myself. Head over to the review to find out why.


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