Vol. LXII, No. 29
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
DINING ITALIANO: We always use high quality ingredients and family recipes and sauces, including recipes from my grandmother who was a native of Italy. The team at Antimos Italian Kitchen, Trattoria & Pizzeria in Hopewell includes from left: Abbas Bayoumi, Antimo Iovine (chef/owner), and Jeff Kyle. They are shown in the restaurants new outdoor cafe.
Dining at Antimos Italian Kitchen, Trattoria & Pizzeria is like going to to a good friends house for dinner. A warm, friendly and down-to-earth atmosphere is a perfect complement to the authentic, home-cooked Italian cuisine, which is prepared just for you.
Located in the Hopewell Village Square, 52 East Broad Street in Hopewell, Antimos was formerly the site of Sansone Brothers Restaurant.
I started working for them 15 years ago when I was 15. They were my uncles, says current chef/owner Antimo Iovine. I learned the whole business, and I began to think Id like to have my own restaurant one day.
That dream came true. He was owner with partners for 10 years, and three years ago, Antimo became sole owner. We did a big remodeling then, adding new decor, including a mural of an Italian vineyard. Now, we have just completed an outdoor cafe, and we hope people will enjoy al fresco dining there.
Family is a key ingredient of the congenial ambiance at Antimos. Brothers Ben and Pasquale, Sister Ida, and brother-in-law Abbas Bayoumi all work at the restaurant. Its really a family operation, says Antimo, and we have a lot of family recipes.
I try to get back to Italy once a year for new recipes, see relatives near Naples, and get back to my roots and heritage.
And he loves to cook! Experimenting with new culinary creations as well as preparing old favorites is a pleasure.
I love the creativity of cooking and trying out new dishes. I like to make creative sauces. We use the best and freshest ingredients, and we emphasize local produce and products and support local farmers. We get produce from Cherry Grove Organic Farm, Terhune Orchards, Trenton Farmers Market, and the Griggstown Farm.
Lunch, dinner, take-out, and catering are available for customers who come from all around the area. Families are a big part of the clientele, reports Antimo, and this is important to him. We welcome everyone, all ages, and we have so many regulars. We can seat 40 people inside and 20 outside in our new outdoor cafe.
The same menu is available throughout the day and evening, with the addition of several specials for dinner. We try very hard to keep our prices reasonable, points out Antimo. The quality of our ingredients is very high, but we are committed to offering reasonable prices to our customers. Salad and homemade bread are served with entrees, and we have prices for everyone.
The price range is $6 to $14 for items on the general menu; $15 to $25 for specials.
Popular dishes include such favorites as Seafood Mediterrano with clams, mussels, shrimp, scallops, and calamari; crab and lobster ravioli; and chicken cacciatore with peppers, mushrooms, plum tomatoes, and Griggstown Farm chicken.
Our pastas are very popular, says Antimo. We have whole wheat pasta with shrimp and asparagus with pesto sauce and tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, and olive oil a big favorite.
Antimos is also known for its lasagna and pizza, including individual gourmet thin-crust pizzas. Margherita Misto thin crust pizza includes fresh mozzarella, plum tomato sauce, olive oil, basil, and fresh arugula. There is also a grilled veggie pizza with spinach, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, garlic, roasted peppers, and fresh mozzarella.
The famous square-shaped Brooklyn pizza is another favorite, as is the tomato pie, with chunks of tomato, garlic, olive oil, and basil.
Salads and hot and cold sandwiches, including subs, paninis, and wraps, are popular for lunch. Italian chicken salad and chicken Caesar salad are in demand, as are classic hamburgers and a special Kiddie Corner menu with favorites such as spaghetti, ravioli, chicken fingers, and personal pizzas for the younger set.
Desserts are a specialty at Antimos and homemade tiramisu and nutella chocolate pizza are two big favorites. Canolis are always on the menu, and in the summer, fresh peach and berry pie from the Griggstown Farm is a must. Lemon and orange sorbet are also refreshing in the summer.
Beverages include tea, coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and a variety of soft drinks. Customers are invited to bring their own wine, and many do enjoy wine, especially with dinner.
Catering has become an increasingly important part of Antimos business, especially seasonally in May and June, and November and December for the holidays. Weve been very busy lately with graduations, engagement parties, and First Communions, notes Antimo. We deliver and set up, and we do corporate and private, all sizes of events and parties.
He is pleased that customers enjoy coming to his restaurant, and he clearly loves his job. Its never dull or boring. Each day is different. In addition to the cooking, I enjoy interacting with the people. Meeting the customers and seeing them enjoy the food is a pleasure. We look forward to continuing to grow and serve even more customers. We want to be THE place for Italian food in the Hopewell area.
Antimos is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are recommended for Friday and Saturday. (609) 466-3333. Website: antimositaliankitchen.com.
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