The Parmigiana Regime: On the U.K.’s Rekindled Passion for Italian American Cuisine

Permanently Unique Group announces their third foray into unique cuisine in Manchester’s Spinningfields shopping district. After launching Tattu, with high end modern Chinese cuisine, and Fennix, with Greek, Louis will be a “love letter to the Italian-American restaurants in New York.” The restaurant is expected to open this autumn.

Italian cuisine has always been famous in the United Kingdom. Louis is yet another testament to the United Kingdom’s growing adoration for New York-style Italian cuisine. Other eateries with a focus on old-school Italian-American food are popping up nationwide. What is contributing to the U.K.’s sudden obsession with the cuisine?

The American Modification

When Italians, many from southern Italy, immigrated to the United States in the late 19th and 20th centuries, they brought with them dishes and recipes from their homes. However, America had very different ingredients to offer these Italian cooks, so traditional dishes had to be transformed.

They incorporated ingredients from America’s larder and adapted their cooking styles accordingly. Abundant meat and cheese became a major focus of these dishes. Chicken parmigiana, spaghetti and meatballs, and all of the red sauce styles of cooking emerged.

U.K. Falls for the Italian American

The U.K. has had a long-running love affair with Italian cuisine. According to Resy, the most in-demand restaurants in London last year included three Italian restaurants: Manteca, Trattoria Brutto, and Trullo.

Now, Italian-American eateries are popping up all over the U.K. Like almost all things that are viral and trendy these days, TikTok may have a huge part to play in this, specifically, #mobwife.

The #mobwife aesthetic refers to a retro ’90s supermodel vibe with lots of pattern mixing, chunky accessories, statement coats, and designer bags. The entire aesthetic is maximalist and Italian American to its core. The trend draws influence from the likes of Goodfellas, Casino, and, of course, The Sopranos. This, in turn, has brought attention to the hearty style of eating that characterizes the culture, especially in New York and New Jersey.

No Place Like London

London, it seems, is the heart of this Italian-American love affair. Multiple high-end and casual eateries have popped up all over the capital city. This includes places like The Dover in Mayfair, which does a refined take on New York-style mom-and-pop restaurants, and Grasso in Soho, a casual take on family-run Italian American eateries.

Carlotta — the newest addition to the Big Mamma family — opened its doors to the crowds in Marylebone last year.

Big Mamma is a Parisian group famous for its larger-than-life take on Italian restaurants. Carlotta embodies the same with its eccentric take on the Italian-American joint. The entire place features an 80s wedding aesthetic. It even serves wedding cake, along with spaghetti and meatballs, platters of shrimp cocktails, and fettuccine alfredo.

The Dover in Mayfair offers an upscale take on traditional Italian dishes with a New York twist. Its menu includes lobster ravioli, spaghetti meatballs, parmigiana “Americana,” branzino fillet, and Italian sausage pie. The more retro-style Grasso serves Italian favorites like mom’s spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm, penne alla vodka, mozzarella sticks, tagliatelle alfredo, lobster linguine, and cheese pie pizza.

Alley Cats in Marylebone takes its Italian American heritage quite seriously, too. It projects episodes of The Sopranos directly onto their walls while service is underway.

This fascination for the cuisine and the culture may not fade anytime soon, either. Even the Carbone — the ritzy New York restaurant of spicy rigatoni vodka pasta fame — has decided to open its first European site at The Chancery Rosewood in Mayfair.

Closer to the coast, Marco Pierre White’s New York-style Italian restaurant brand, Marco’s New York Italian, recently opened a new location in Blackpool. The entire experience is poised to offer the best Italian and American cuisines. The menu takes inspiration from Pierre White’s Italian heritage and his love for New York. It features everything from stone-baked pizzas and fresh pasta to the juiciest steaks and the best New York desserts.

The pandemic was characterized by a search for comfort and a bittersweet tug of nostalgia. As the cost of living continues to rise, people still turn to things that bring solace, like sumptuous, homely meals. Italian American restaurants, no matter how high-end, are all about warm hospitality and generous platters of hearty food.

What is more soothing to the battered soul than a steaming pile of spaghetti and meatballs?

Bella Bucchiotti | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced by Media Decision and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.


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