By Brian Ward
Hampton Beachcomber , July 25, 2013
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Beachcomber and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON BEACH — Do you like good, home-cooked food? Does the word Italian conjure up images of mouth-watering meatballs and lasagna? Is reading this making you a bit hungry? Then you might want to try It's Italian on 23 Ocean Blvd.
Robert Hannagan and his uncle, Tony Grillo, said it's the quality of the food that draws people to their popular restaurant.
"The thing that separates us is the time it takes us to prepare," Hannagan said. "There are very few places around here that can compete with that."
Hannagan said starting after Labor Day, It's Italian will be adding catering to their repertoire where a list of the restaurant favorites, such as chicken, pasta, eggplant and lasagna, will be ready for pick up.
"It's a seasonal place by the beach, but the food is in demand," Hannagan said. "We're doing it because our foods are good enough for it."
Both Hannagan and his uncle are well qualified to talk about quality food. Over the past four years the two of them have received numerous awards and praise from customers about their cooking.
Hannagan had been cooking down in Florida before returning to New England and opening up It's Italian with his uncle. Grillo has been cooking for 50 years and has owned and run restaurants out in Hawaii and Florida.
Grillo said he's proud of everything they serve on their menu and the work his nephew has done with mastering the recipes at It's Italian.
"Even though his name is Hannagan he cooks like a Grillo, to his grandfather and uncle's tastes," Grillo said.
All the cooking at It's Italian is done with family recipes, some of which go back generations.
Grillo said anyone who comes in should expect a good home cooked meal made with the best and freshest ingredients.
Robert Hannagan (right) and his undle Tony Grillo have been making
mouth-watering food at Hampton Beach for the last four years.
[Brian Ward photo]
"[I put so much effort into our food] because that was how I was taught," Grillo said. "This is five generations of food; I was taught to use the best for everything and that's the way I taught my nephew."
The two of them have no doubt that the catering business will be a success, and thanked their customers for the complements and support they've given over the years.
"We're excited anytime the doors are open and we're cooking," Hannagan said. "People walk out of here happy that they came in."