‘Sweet Spot’ With Mike Sugerman: Enoteca Maria Celebrates Grandma’s Cooking

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — When grandma’s cooking, you know it’s going to be good.

So Enoteca Maria, on Staten Island, employs grandmothers instead of chefs. And they’re from all over the world.

“I’m really happy to cook for the people,” one grandma says.

When Sugerman stopped by, one was making her mushroom pastry in one of the two kitchens there.

Upstairs, it’s the United Nations of grandmas, while downstairs, there’s always an Italian Nonna, as a tribute to the owner’s Nonna.

“These grandmothers learn from their mother, and their grandmother and their great grandmother. So when they’re in the kitchen, you have hundreds of years of this knowledge coming out of their fingertips, and I think it’s magical,” he says.

The magic comes from Mexico, Russia, Jamaica and Venezuela, just to name a few. The grandmas come on a rotating basis.

On this night, it was Syria.

Sugerman tasted stuffed zucchini from a recipe handed down to the grandma from her mother growing up near Aleppo, a place she says she’s glad to be away from.

“They kidnap kids over there. We were without water, without electricity. And the sound of the war all over the place,” she says through a translator.

She’s glad she got out when she did three years ago but worries about her family left behind.

Even Hollywood has taken an interest in Enoteca Maria. There’s talk of a movie and possibly a TV show.

Because what they’re serving up on Staten Island is food for thought.

Find more from the “Sweet Spot” with Mike Sugerman by clicking here.

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