Italian cuisine is considered by most one of the best, and the Italian dining experience is like no other. Italian friends and family come together to share an incredible selection of foods and in the process share the rich experience of culture and history that is part of dining “Italian”.
Owner and executive chef Chris Licht had just that idea when he opened his newest Italian restaurant Café Piccolo. With a restaurant full of authentic food with new and savory twists, Chris put both passion and tradition into Café Piccolo while sharing his respected family recipes with those eager to try his dishes. It’s as if Chris’ family is continuing to grow as more and more customers enter his restaurant to get a taste of the food and flavor that he enjoyed while growing up in an Italian-American household. With this sense of community, an intense love of food and family is sure to brighten anyone’s day who steps through the restaurant door.
Chris’ interest in Italian food began at a young age cooking traditional and well-known Italian foods. He spent a great deal of time learning alongside his grandmother, whose passion fueled his own as he learned to roll meatballs and assist with the creation of popular Italian dishes. His grandmother came from Longi, Sicily, an area in southern Italy with a small population of people, some of which who came to Ohio and joined Italian American clubs to share and treasure their heritage together. She made her home in Ohio, which is where Chris was raised to value not only Italian food, but Italian traditions and customs as well. Chris took these lessons to heart and began cooking and chasing his passion at an early age. Even at 12 years-old, he was already running a pizza shop and embracing the tips, tricks, and recipes passed down to him from his family.
While being fueled by cooking knowledge from his family, Chris was able to continue his growth and knowledge by attending the Culinary Institute of America, where he learned to sharpen his skills and become the chef he is today. Even though he started with being an assistant cook and a dish washer, Chris’ hard work, passion, and determination fueled his dream. Chris was able to go forth and make an impact in the restaurant industry. He opened first restaurant in 2011, and another restaurant followed three years later. Recently, he opened Café Piccolo, where he will continue sharing his savory Italian dishes with the community around him. An incredible feeling of traditional family dining can be accommodated at Café Piccolo with the private party room which hosts up to 50 people.
Chris’ passion is obvious from the menu provided at Café Piccolo. Savory classics such as soppressata pizza are made by hand and given to hungry customers ready to try a taste of Italy. Each pizza is made fresh and hand-tossed with great care, and the results are clear with how popular the dishes has become. For another traditional taste of Italy, the Short Rib Bolognese can satisfy any hunger as well. The savory short rib is tossed with some of the finest pasta and topped with ricotta salata, something Chris himself enjoyed when growing up. Many other dishes captivate the locals, including various hand-made pastas, salads, entrees, and freshly-baked bread. Each dish is lovingly made with the finest quality of pastas, meat, and produce, and the taste is sure to live up to the hype. An excellent wine selection is also available to accompany any meal for a full experience. A glass of wine and a fine Italian dinner can be enjoyed either in the comfort of the restaurant, or out on the patio.
For Chris, the pleasure of cooking doesn’t just satisfy his own taste for tradition, but it is also an experienced used to cheer up the people who want a positive experience with good food and a friendly atmosphere. “A big part of carrying on the Italian American tradition I grew up with is sharing the food,” says Chris while reminiscing about the joyful looks and cheers he’d receive when brining plates of fresh, hand-made food to a table of hungry customers. “I love to cook, and I never cook for myself. I like the reaction I get from other people. I did something for them that make their day a little bit better.” And, truly, such an attentive care for his meals is shown through the flavor of his food.
The real experience is open to anyone who wants to taste a bit of Italy, and the inviting atmosphere is ready for all to enjoy. Café Piccolo is located on 35568 Detroit Road in Avon, Ohio, and it is open from Monday through Thursday from 11am to 10pm, as well as Friday and Saturday from 11am to 11pm. Sunday brunch is served from 10:30am to 2:30pm, and Sunday dinner is served from 2:30 to 8pm. For a more personal experience, a private dining room is available to anyone as long as the room is booked in advance. Be sure to try a little bit of everything with every trip you make, because there are plenty of delicious items on the menu ready to be shared with guests. For more information about Café Piccolo, call 440-937-1679 or visit the restaurant’s website at cafepiccoloavon.com. Everyone is welcomed to get a taste of the passion, whether Italian or not, and the food is sure to bring a smile to anyone who gets a bite of what Chris has to offer.
Hope to see you there!