“I think the food is good,” she said. “It’s made from scratch. The other aspect is the ambiance — it’s unpretentious and welcoming.”
The result has been a resounding success. Last year, Gaberino’s took second place in the Transcript’s Reader’s Choice awards. When the space came open next door, they jumped on the chance to expand, even though the restaurant has not quite hit it’s three-year anniversary mark, a time when many restaurants are still hoping to break into the black.
Laura Duprez believes the homey atmosphere and homemade fare for affordable prices are responsible. She also attributes much of the restaurant’s success to customer service.
“We have a wonderful staff,” she said. “They take care of customers.”
The food is simple, but simple can be delicious she said.
“The hand-rolled meatballs are an old family recipe,” Duprez said.
The walnut encrusted chicken parmesan is also very popular, as is the lasagna.
“All of our pastas are hand-made and fresh,” she said. “We make our Italian cream cake, which is very popular.”
Where possible, Duprez said they patronize other Norman businesses, getting bread and tiramisu from La Baguette and gelato from il Dolce.
In addition to traditional offerings, some menu selections are vegetarian, vegan and/or gluten free.
For those who don’t drink wine or beer, an Italian soda or the recently added Topeca coffee served French press style is worth a try.
Duprez said a special summer menu offers broader choices and a lighter fare including baked salmon, eggplant parmesan and caprese salad skewers.