NORMAN — Laura Duprez grew up with an Italian mother who loved to cook and loved to open her home to people. When Laura and husband, Mitch Duprez, decided to open an Italian restaurant in Norman three years ago, that “our house is your house” culture contributed greatly to the casual, homestyle approach of their restaurant.
Now, Gaberino’s Homestyle Italian, 283 34th Ave. SW in Redbud Plaza, has expanded to be even more welcoming to more people, but don’t worry, Duprez said the same cozy atmosphere continues to make guests welcome.
“I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from people,” Duprez said. “We had 1,280 square feet and we added 1,400 square feet and doubled the seating.”
Cozy banquettes and two small semi-private rooms will keep the dining experience intimate. The semi-private rooms are partially enclosed booths with stained glass windows and seating for six to eight people. A larger room can accommodate parties and groups, something the restaurant couldn’t do before the renovation.
Local artist Patience Rhode did stained glass accents. A wine bar was added, and the Duprezs worked with Matt Sterr of Spirit Shop to expand the wine list and beer offerings.
“Everything is Italian,” Duprez said.
Duprez’s maternal ancestors came from northern Italy. Gaberino is Laura’s mother’s maiden name. Laura Duprez grew up in an Italian community in McAlester but fell in love with Norman when she attended the University of Oklahoma.
She took a job in Washington, D.C., for a time but missed Norman and returned. Laura met husband and co-owner, Mitch Duprez, while both were working at Victoria’s Restaurant on Campus Corner.
For a time, Laura considered going into medicine and Mitch was interesting in teaching. Meanwhile, he cooked and she waited tables. The couple decided to follow their hearts and open a restaurant.