Christino Griego used to drive past the closed location of the Stapleton Bistro and see the “For Lease” sign in the window. “I thought and thought and thought about it,” says the restaurant’s former executive chef and general manager. Partnering with a couple of childhood friends, Griego opened Della Radice in March, this time as Owner and Executive Chef of the small, neighborhood restaurant, with new intentions, a new menu but the same love for the community.
In Italian, “della radice” means “of the root.” “We all come from somewhere,” says Griego. “I wanted it to be about where our food comes from, where our wine comes from, where we come from as individuals to do this kind of job.”
After Griego left the Stapleton Bistro, he worked with restaurateur Frank Bonanno to open SupperBell, a home delivery meal service. He then taught at Cook Street School of Culinary Arts. But he never gave up on having a place of his own. “What I really wanted to do was include the feelings of all of the places I’ve been able to cook—Italy, France, and Spain—and take those great neighborhood places and build a replica of that where you’re always welcome, it’s neighborhood, it’s warm and beautiful.” Griego says the vibe will remind people of their visits to Europe or give an indication of what it’s like if they have never been.
Della Radice offers shareable, small-plate dishes divided by the three countries plus wine, beer and a full bar. Depending on hunger level, Griego recommends each person order one or two items. Options include Gambas al Ajillo (olive oil-poached prawns from Spain), Arancini di Rose (saffron risotto balls with mozzarella cheese from Italy), and Brie en Croute (brie cheese with fresh herbs baked in puff pastry from France). There are also salads and charcuterie boards.
“I’m not trying to compete with the Cativellas and Concourses of the world,” says Griego, referring to the Eastbridge Town Center restaurants up Martin Luther King Boulevard. “They do a great job with what they do for full menu items. I want people to come in and have a couple of snacks, a couple of glasses of wine and then go home and make dinner – like a true tapas-style restaurant you’d see in Spain where it’s come and stay for three hours or for 35 minutes because you have to pick up the kids from gymnastics class.”
Something Griego says they didn’t do successfully last time, that he feels will be very popular at Della Radice, is a small bodega program that includes meats, cheeses, bread, and pastas. “So you come in here, have a little snack, pick stuff up (from the bodega), go next door for a bottle of wine, then make a nice pasta meal at home for your family,” says Griego.
Happy to be back in the neighborhood, Griego looks forward to being more involved, from being part of the school system to offering cooking classes and wine and liquor education programs. “We really want to infuse our love of the community back into the community.” Hearkening back to the concept “of the root,” Griego says, “We’re rooted in Stapleton and we’re not going anywhere.”