by Mike Fitzsimmons, Taste of Westwood
For John and Alissa Vitale, it all comes down to family. It began with growing up in a family that supported each other, spent time together, and encouraged selflessness. Of course, spending time with family and friends goes hand-in-hand with food. The Vitales, together with Joe and Cheryl Napoletano, have brought new life to the food scene in Westwood.
Five years ago, Sogno Coffeehouse became a dream come true and since then the Vitales have added Caffe Anello and Johnny‘s Italian Market to their family of businesses. We spoke with the Vitales about what makes them unique.
TOW: You have renovated three spaces since you opened. Has that led to more efficiency for you and your customers?
Alissa: Our renovations have streamlined our business. By opening Johnny’s and bringing the crepe and coffee business together, it has allowed our family to be in one place and it provides a one stop shop for all our customers’ needs.
TOW: Are there more renovations in the works?
John: Yes, we plan to expand seating for Caffe Anello as we are currently turning away more customers than we’d like.
TOW: Speaking of dinner, last year you offered a dinner for 8, served in your home as a silent auction grand prize at Taste of Westwood. How did that go?
John: It was fun. The town council had the winning bid so Mayor John Birkner and I cooked for the council at Caffe Anello. We will offer it again this year and I already know the bidding will be fierce.
TOW: You and Alissa do a lot for that causes that are dear to you. Tell us about Sunset Vista.
John: Sunset Vista is an all-natural, pesticide-free, family-owned Tuscan farm in rural Sussex County. Linda Grinthal (formerly Puntasecca, of Sicilian descent) and her husband Andrew, supply seasonal fresh produce to Caffe Anello. The farm has fig trees, sunflowers and grapevines, and they crush and bottle our sauce from their marvelous tomatoes.
This is our fifth year doing a benefit for the Sunset Vista Community Garden and Learning Center in Andover. We have assisted in raising funds for a handicap ramp and irrigation systems at the farm. Our Tuscan Farm Sunset dinner always sells out. We serve 80 guests a farm-fresh four-course Italian dinner.
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