It's Italian! is serving up a taste of Italy

By Mackenzie Ferreira

Hampton Union, Friday, July 16, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
It's Italian!
[Mackenzie Ferreira photo]

HAMPTON BEACH -- Located slightly past the main strip of Hampton Beach, at 23 Ocean Boulevard, is a new Italian restaurant, It's Italian!

It's Italian! opened in May, but they have quickly established themselves.

"We get a lot of locals and tourists and they become usuals. They come in two to three times a week, that's how good our food is," says Anthony Grillo, who opened the restaurant for his sister and nephew.

Every ingredient is fresh and made from scratch.

"Our sauce and meatballs are made daily. That's why people like it, everything is done fresh," Grillo says.

Grillo has owned restaurants in places as far away as California and Hawaii and now lives in the area.

He mentioned the available building to his sister, and since then has been showing his nephew the ropes of Italian cooking.

"We don't have any deep fryers or microwaves, everything is real Italian dishes," Grillo says.

But it wasn't all easy, a lot of work needed to be done to the building before any cooking could happen.

"We built everything here ourselves, so everything is brand new and clean," says Robert Hannagan, Grillo's nephew and co-owner.

They even built an outdoor deck for dining on nice days.

"People can bring their own wine to enjoy [on the deck] too," says Grillo.

Grillo and Hannagan agree they are popular for their meatballs, eggplant, sauce and house dressing.

However, Grillo's favorite dishes to cook are the lasagna, the eggplant, fish and any of the four different ways of preparing shrimp.

"It's four generations of recipes," Grillo says.

It's Italian! also offers veal dishes.

They buy their meats in Boston and purchase their seafood locally.

They also use all of their fresh ingredients to make different specials every day.

"Usually restaurants have specials to get rid of food, we don't do that," Hannagan says.

Prices for meals range from $7 to $12.95.

And, if you don't feel like eating out, you can call for delivery or pick up.

"When people leave they say they'll come back many times," Grillo says. "We'll be here for a while."

After Labor Day, It's Italian! hopes to stay open Thursday through Sunday until Dec. 23. They also plan to start catering in September.

It's Italian! is open daily from 11:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Contact them at 926-8811.

Anthony Grillo and Robert Hannagan have opened It's Italian! at 23 Ocean Boulevard at Hampton Beach.
[Mackenzie Ferreira photo]
Beach delivery bike. [Mackenzie Ferreira photo]