In Byram, Rosina’s has opened in a unique space that was formerly home to That Little Italian Restaurant, which many longtime residents remember fondly. And, like that old haunt, the idea behind Rosina’s menu is to gather and share.
Coby Blount, who co-owns Rosina’s with Frank Carpenteri Sr and Jared Falco, said he was excited to work alongside chef Falco, with whom he worked at Fortina’s in Armonk.
“We knew we wanted to do something pasta-focused,” Blount said. “That’s Jared’s passion and what he does really well.”
“We get people in here every day saying they remember when it was That Little Italian Restaurant,” Blount said. “We want to be part of the community for 20-plus years as well.”
The Rosina’s menu features pasta, pizza and salads. Entrees include Branzino with peas, spinach, cippolini onion and black truffle; and Veal Chop Milanese with arugula, tomato and pecorino.
Appetizers include Crispy Brussels, Burrata, Arancini, Meatballs and the runaway hit, Octopus & Potato with pimenton and lemon aioli.
“Octopus and potato is our number one selling dish. People are going crazy for it,” Falco said. “That was a surprise to us. We sell more octopus than meatballs.”
“Our food is a modern take on old Italian dishes,” explained Falco, who grew up on Long Island. “I’m from an Italian-American family. I’ve cooked all over the place, but I fell in love with pasta ten years ago.”
“People are responding to pastas including our rigatoni dish with braised pork, escarole, white beans and tomato,” the chef added. “It’s Italian comfort food.”
Falco said there has also been a great response to the Arancini with ‘Nduja sausage and pecorino cream sauce.
The restaurateurs’ search for a location in Greenwich was lengthy. For a time they focused their sights on Greenwich Avenue, but ultimately honed in on the Mill Street location. When Tarry Lodge closed in Port Chester, there was an opportunity to fill a void in the burgeoning neighborhood.
Rosina’s seats 140 in a series of rooms and cozy nooks. There is an upstairs private dining area that seats 18, and an inviting 12-seat bar that fronts onto Mill Street. A courtyard that seats 30 benefits from a large retractable awning that provides shade on hot days and comes in handy at even the hint of rain.
“That many seats on Greenwich Avenue does not exist,” Blount said. “And if it did exist, it would cost a fortune.”
“We knew we could afford to make it less expensive than if we were on Greenwich Avenue,” he added.
And, unlike Greenwich Ave, Rosina’s has ample parking, including on-street spots and two municipal parking lots.
The restaurant is named after Carpenteri’s mother Rosina, who came to the US from Calabria, Italy.
“She moved to Port Chester when she was a teenager, and lived just down the street her whole life,” Blount said. “She loved to cook. She loved to garden. She loved to make wine – basically everything we do here. She would have loved this place!”
Blount and Falco said the restaurant, which opened on August 10, draws both a local crowd and patrons from Fairfield and Westchester Counties.
“We pull from Rye, Mamaroneck, Harrison, Greenwich, Stamford, Westport and Darien,” Blount said. “We’ve been meeting a lot of younger families new to the area, we well as people who have been in the area their entire lives and came here when it was That Little Italian Restaurant. And they’re excited.”
Blount and Falco said they hope to be part of the community for years.
“We put a lot of stock into creating real relationships with our guests that go beyond spaghetti and meatballs – but we do have spaghetti and meatballs,” Blount said.
“You can come here at 5:00pm with your kids and have a pizza and share some pasta,” Blount said. “But you can also come here on your anniversary night and share a bottle of champagne and a Veal Chop Milanese and have a totally different experience than with your kids. The idea of the menu is there is something for whatever you’re in the mood for.”
Blount and Falco said the menu is evolving and expanding. Most recently they added a few new varieties of pizzas. They said that they are grateful for input, and every patron receives a card to submit their feedback. Soon, they said, they will begin to offer daily specials.
For now, dinner is served six nights a week. Blount said they anticipate introducing weekend brunch in coming weeks and live music on Sunday afternoons. From there, they hope to expand to weekday lunches with the ultimate goal of being open seven days a week for lunch and dinner.
Rosina’s is located at 230 Mill Street. Reservations are recommended but not required.