TYNGSBOROUGH - It's not easy stepping into someone else's kitchen.
But Kathleen Delpero is certain she can simmer Giorgio Vestri's sauces with the same Etruscan flair he and his family demonstrated at Caffe il Cipresso for the past 12 years.
The 10-table restaurant, started in 1995, feels like a cozy dining corner off your mother's kitchen. The only sign of change, other than a new wait staff, is new scenic wallpaper on the back wall. "Everything will stay the same," says Delpero, standing inside the tiny eatery that she had purchased from Vestri this fall. Sandra Lindenfelzer, one of the restaurant's most devoted customers, isn't sure anyone can pull off this change. "I think it's pretty difficult to copy perfection," she says.
It isn't only patrons who doubt that the restaurant can stay the same
without Vestri, his wife, Rotilia,
and their three daughters, who were waitresses there. "I don't think you
can go into another place and imitate exactly what someone else has been
doing," says Richard Barron, co-owner and chef of Il Capriccio in
Now 60, Giorgio Vestri decided to let go of
the restaurant he and his family built up together while they were at the top
of their game. His short-term plans include an extended vacation in
Giorgio and Rotilia Vestri
created the establishment out of what they knew best - the food and culture of
Giorgio Vestri (left), the former owner of family-run Caffe Il Cipresso
in Tyngsboro, helps new chef Devin Rogers.
Located near other Italian spots, the
The two were looking for a place to buy together when they discovered Caffe il Cipresso. The new chef is Delpero's son, Devin Rogers, who is also Dutney's fiance.
Delpero says that restaurants are
"in our blood." A second-generation restaurateur, she once owned a sandwich
Part of the previous owners' success was the familiarity of the Vestri family members. Three of their five children, Michela, 31,
Giorgio Vestri says the business grew by word-of-mouth. Initially, he and Rotilia had planned to launch a small cafe for coffee and dessert, but customers began asking for entrees.
"We're not worried about Olive Garden and Carrabba's," says
"We think that's our staple."
Caffe il Cipresso,
1-1/2 pounds boneless chicken cutlets
1/2 cup flour
salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1/4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup white wine
1 jar or can roasted red peppers (about 16 ounces)
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
1 cup chicken stock
juice of 1 lemon
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Place the cutlets between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. On a cutting board with a mallet or the bottom of a heavy skillet, pound the cutlets until they are quite thin. Dust them with flour, salt, and pepper.
2. In 2 large skillets, heat 2 tablespoons oil in each until hot. Add 2 tablespoons butter to each. When it foams, divide the cutlets between the pans. Cook them over medium-high heat for a few minutes on each side or until they are golden brown. Remove them from the skillets and transfer to a platter.
3. Add the mushrooms to one of the skillets. Cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until the mushrooms release their liquid. Pour the wine into the mushrooms. Cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 2 minutes. Tip the mushroom mixture into the second skillet and cook, scraping the bottom of the pan, for 2 minutes more.
4. Return the cutlets to the skillet of sauce. Add the roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, chicken stock, and lemon juice. Bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce is well flavored.
5. Transfer the chicken to a platter. Leave the lid off the pan. Let the sauce simmer steadily for 5 minutes or until it reduces slightly. Spoon the sauce over the cutlets and sprinkle with parsley.
— Adapted from Caffe il Cipresso