People and institutions rarely exist long enough to celebrate an 80th anniversary, but a special family and location are ready to party hearty at Consiglio’s Restaurant on Wooster Street in New Haven on Friday, October 19. It’s been eight decades since Annunziata and Salvatore Consiglio, new immigrants to this country, with the help of their seven children, opened a neighborhood family eating estabishment they named “The Big Apple.”They used the recipes from their Italian homeland to create a place that featured the freshest ingredients, more than generous portions and reasonable rates for the Amalfi community who settled in the Wooster Square area. A major redevelopment project occurred in the early 1960’s that necessitated a move across the street to their present location at 165 Wooster Street and the name change that became Consiglio’s Restaurant. The past and the present have been wedded beautifully together with the early generation’s Southern Italian favorites like Eggplant Rollatini, Lasagna, Braciole and Cavatelli with the new generation’s recipes for Braciole and Cavatelli with the new generation’s recipes for Grilled Faroe Island Salmon, Chicken Anna and Pappardelle Bolognese.
Trish Consiglio Perrotti is the third generation to run the family establishment, taking over with her sister when she was 28 in 1993. Through high school and college, she bussed and waited tables and only returned when she learned her parents where ready to retire and planned to sell the family landmark. Trish who “never forgot the name on the front door," that “it was way more than just a job, it was a reputation, “ bought out her sister thirteen years ago and hasn’t looked anywhere but forward since.
With a great staff, she acknowledges it has captured her “heart and soul.” Trish has been encouraged to innovate such opportunities as Cooking Classes where guests are given private lessons on how to prepare such dishes as Beef Bolognese over Rigatoni, Sausage stuffed Mushrooms with Mozzarella, Spinach and Peppers and Oreo Chocolate Mousse Cake and then they eat.
One of the chefs for the Thursday Cooking Classes just added another feather to his toque (hat) and won on Chopped, the Food Network television cooking competition. Daniel Breisford, a Bridgeport fire fighter, has been fascinated with food since he was a child. On the show, he was challenged to use all of a bizarre mystery basket of ingredients like jicama, kosher dill pickles, dinosaur kale, jalapeño cheesecake, sriracha mayonnaise and smoked chocolate chips as he prepared an appetizer, entree and dessert. The episode called “Fire It Up” had Daniel declared Chopped Champion. His skills have been on display at the Consiglio’s Cooking Classes for several years. ($75, reservations needed, 203-865-4489).Other exciting innovations include the unique murder mystery nights with a three course dinner, led by that dedicated master of ceremonies Michael Sayers, better known as Chester Hadlyme, the famous sleuth. Sayers who writes all the scripts, uses a bevy of local actors who travel from table to table dropping clues, to discover who killed the victim, how and why. On Friday, October 12, the theme is Halloween and you’re welcome to come in costume for “What Are You Wearing??” Burial plots are all ready to be filled on Friday, November 16 when the Syn clan gets caught up in some seriously silly “Family Plotting,” ($65 for dinner and theater), A delicious three course dinner is included with appetizers like fried calamari, veal marsala and Godiva tiramisu.Two years ago Trish had the idea to hold an old-fashioned Sunday family lunch “Cuchina,” which means “kitchen.” Dishes are served family style and are shared at your table. Well received, Cuchina features such choices as pasta with meatballs, roast pork marsala and Italian pastries ($29.95 ). The most recent addition to the Consigio offerings is a dinner truck that travels to house parties, growing from an original small food cart. Meals are prepared to order. You might also see the truck at charity functions like the recent Closer to Free event.
After 80 years, Consiglio’s is hosting its first anniversary party ever and you’re invited to show up in your best 1930’s costume ( a $100 gift card to the best entry) and a free first drink if you come in 1938 attire. On Friday, October 19 from 6-9 p.m.li, Consigio’s will have hot and cold appetizers in a buffet for the appropriate price of $19.38. Come for food, music, reduced price drinks and a costume contest. For reservations, call 203-865-4489 or go online to consigliosrestaurant.com.Put on your party duds and mosey on over to one of the most charming streets in New Haven and say Congratulations, Salut, Cheers, Mazel Tov, and L’chaim to the Consiglios on their gala #80.