About Mangia Mangia
Simple Beginnings, Rich Traditions
Emilio & Maria Dacoba opened Mangia Mangia as the latest endeavor for a family tradition in restaurants and Italian dining that began when Amo and Rose Scotese opened La Cantina in 1936. You can still taste the original spaghetti sauce and other family recipes used by Nonna Rosa, as her grandhildren call her, when she first served up lunches for truck drivers who delivered ice for the ice house Amo ran in Paw Paw before turning to the restaurant business. The Dacoba's originally opened a lunch shop called Bogie’s Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo, but in 2008 transformed it into the Italian restaurant Mangia Mangia for fine dining with a family appeal.
Emilio learned to cook from his grandmother. As a child, he’d stand on a wooden beer crate in Nonna Rosa’s kitchen to stir the sauces. He also helped her bake bread. “She was an excellent baker,” Emilio says. “She baked cakes and other desserts. Cheesecakes were among her specialties.” Cheesecakes from Nonna Rosa’s recipes are regularly offered on Mangia Mangia’s dessert menu.
The Neapolitan and Calabrian traditions in cooking, that Nonna Rosa learned from her family, call for fresh ingredients. Mangia Mangia strives to follow those traditions by using the freshest vegetables, fruits and meats available from local vendors and farmers.
Mangia Mangia offers fine Italian dining, but Emilio and Maria emphasize their place is still a restaurant families can enjoy. Whether it’s a night of dinner and the theater, or you’re just looking for the taste of home cooking without cooking at home, they welcome you to come, sit at our table and “eat, eat!” And enjoy.
Chef Allen Worman
Emilio says he shared his grandmother’s recipes with Chef Allen Worman, but adds, “He also comes with a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge in Italian cooking. And it’s more than just information you can get out of a book. It’s a lot of trial and error. He’s got a great flavor profile in his mind, and he knows how to pair different things together. That’s what he’s bringing – his cooking knowledge, his flair on the Italian palate.”
Allen attended culinary school at Johnson and Wales in Providence, Rhode Island, where he followed his passion for Italian classics and techniques. He also trained at the House of Blues in New Orleans, but eventually received a job offer from Al Forno restaurant back in Providence where he trained, developed and perfected the art of Italian cuisine. Allen has opened and developed numerous restaurants before joining Mangia, Mangia in October 2009 as an award-wining Executive Chef.