The following is a one on one with Lucia Palmieri of Nino’s in Kerr Village. Nino’s is renowned for its simplicity and authenticity, but it all had to start somewhere, no?
Meet Lucia. The authenticity that Nino’s is renowned for can be found through the way she carries herself. She radiates authenticity, in her demeanor and her overall passion for life. She seems to understand that quality is key. Every day she learns. She learns from life experiences and tries to showcase that through Nino’s. When you come to Nino’s, you’re getting more than just a meal. You’re getting an experience.
The following is a little one on one we had with her. She allowed us to pick at her brain, but not her food (we scheduled that for next time). We asked her about Nino’s and what makes it unique.
FC – Tell us a little bit about Nino’s; what’s the type of cuisine you serve and customers you generally cater for?
L – Nino’s is an Authentic Italian restaurant which serves traditional Italian dishes, a true reflection of the Italian Culture. We are known for our ‘extreme simplicity and authenticity’ – a place to gather your loved ones, celebrate good food, good company and special occasions. Our restaurant is a family friendly restaurant. Very simple and modern. Our focus is on the quality of the food and the friendly service.
FC- Who is Nino?
L – It’s funny you ask that, almost every customer asks me this. Nino is not anyone in particular. It’s a fun and easy Italian name to remember which is why we picked it. The full legal name of the restaurant is “Nino Panino Pizzeria Limited”. But you can see we are much more than a pizzeria. Nino is just a short form of the full name. The restaurant is simple, so the name should be too.
FC – What made you choose to open up Nino’s in Kerr Village?
L – I’m originally from Stoney Creek, which was my first place of choice for opening a restaurant. But at the time, a good spot wasn’t as readily available and so I explored outside of Stoney Creek and instantly took a liking to Oakville, Kerr street in particular. Kerr village is filled with lots of great unique businesses which give the area a lot of character. The BIA and the city both do a great job to help local businesses and invest time and money into making the community better. When I franchise the restaurant, I will be sure to make my way back to the Hamilton area. Stay tuned…
FC – Do you test all your recipes on your friends? How do you decide if a particular dish makes the menu?
L – I test most of my dishes on family and friends, especially my father who loves to eat!! Most of the dishes I serve are inspired from family recipes and classic Italian cooking which I grew up on. Some other dishes like our Alfredo pasta dish, made the menu because of a few customer requests. If enough people ask for it, I will put it on the menu.
FC – Where does your inspiration come from?
L- Inspiration is all around us. Each and every person I meet inspires me. Each and every experience inspires me. It’s also about exhilaration, about passion and living life fully. Steve Jobs says it the best … “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” – I’m always eager to learn new things and challenge myself each and every day. We live in a world full of abundance. Full of endless opportunities, it’s up to you to go out and get it.
FC – What are your essential ingredients, the things you couldn’t live without?
L – Essential ingredients for our restaurant would be Basil, Parsley, Garlic, Tomatoes, Oregano and Olive Oil just to name a few.
FC – What is your favorite dish – or the one you are most proud of?
L – Well I’m a huge pizza lover. I can eat pizza forever. One of my favorite foods to eat is pizza. A Margherita pizza with mushrooms. Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated, neither does eating. Italian cuisine is very simple, which is what Nino’s is all about. The dish I am most proud of is our Homemade Meat Lasagna and Cannelloni Di Ricotta Spinaci. They both take a lot of time and effort and are tough to master. Our customers love them.
FC – What makes the ‘Nino’s Experience’ different from other ‘Authentic’ Italian Restaurants?
L – Nino’s mission statement is simple: deliver quality Italian dishes at an affordable price. The food quality is high but the prices are fair. Our portions are very generous, the customer service is top notch and the atmosphere is comfortable. I encourage feedback from my customers so I can find ways to improve the experience for them. It’s always about putting the customer first.
There you have it. Simple and authentic. Classic and timeless. Nino’s is where you come for the meal, but stay for the experience.