The modern American nation was built on the strength of immigrants. Many of us have inspiring stories to tell of our parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who came to this country with little money, big dreams and an unshakeable work ethic. Through perseverance, they have provided the roots for us to grow and thrive. Thriving is just the word that comes to mind when you meet the kind and friendly Marku family who own and manage Buon Appetito Risorante & Pizzeria in North Stonington.
Born in Albania and raised in Rimini, Italy, the five Marku siblings and their parents, Mrike and Fran, trickled their way over to the United States in the 1990’s. Liza, the only sister in the group, was the first to make her way over to America and settle down in Florida for a while. Her four brothers, Alex, Petrit, Kris and Giovanni later made their way over to Connecticut to join their cousin and it wasn’t long before Liza left Florida to join them.
“The opportunity I found here was like nowhere else in the world,” Petrit said. Seizing opportunity is just what his family did. The Markus wasted no time in putting their skills and knowledge to use by building a general contracting business. A Beautiful Co. opened its doors at 15 Shaw Street in downtown New London. They started out building and remodeling homes and now, over 20 years later, A Beautiful Co. is a flourishing business that provides commercial building and remodeling services in addition to working on homes. From painting to custom kitchen and bathroom design to detailed stone work and more, A Beautiful Co. has a wealth of experience creating beautiful spaces for people to live and work in.
Having grown up in Italy, the Marku family developed a love of Italian cuisine and learned quite a bit about cooking classic homemade Italian dishes with fresh ingredients. It seemed only a natural next step that they should combine their talents for superior craftsmanship and cooking to build an authentic Italian restaurant in Connecticut. In 2010, the family took over the former property of the Dew Drop Inn at 386 Norwich-Westerly Road in North Stonington. After demolishing the former inn, they set to work on building the Italian family restaurant they dreamed of. On February 10, 2011, Buon Appetito officially opened its doors to the public.
Serving authentic northern Italian dishes including housemade organic pasta, wood fired brick oven pizza, calzones and a variety of steak, chicken and seafood dishes, Buon Appetito has made a name for itself in an area that is competitive for Italian restaurants, in particular. Throw a stone in any direction and you’re bound to hit a pizza place but few of them serve true Italian-style brick oven pizza. Of course, pizza is just one of many things Buon Appetito does expertly. The pasta dishes are an extraordinary treat--delicate ribbons of pappardelle pasta with a hearty Bolognese sauce, comforting baked gnocchi with tomato basil sauce topped with a golden brown mozzarella cheese topping, linguini with fresh clams in a perfectly light garlic and lemon sauce and so much more.
When it comes to customer service, the restaurant is top notch. Step inside the cozy Tuscan villa-style building and you will immediately be greeted with a smile and welcomed like a friend or family member. Every guest is served warm, freshly baked bread with olive oil for dipping and no one sees the bottom of a glass. The staff is extremely accommodating and impressively well-versed in the best wine pairings from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar. Seating is available inside in the Garden Room and Lounge or outside on the lovely seasonal patio.
Buon Appetito also operates a mobile pizza truck, complete with a wood-fired brick oven, for private parties and special events.
Running two successful businesses is more than full-time job for the Marku family but that doesn’t mean they’re slowing down any time soon. Their second Italian restaurant, Il Pomod’Oro is opening at 117 Boston Post Road in East Lyme this summer.
“The future in America for the Marku family… we believe the sky is the limit!” Alex said. “There is not a day that goes by that we are not grateful for the opportunities we have found in America. We strive every day to participate and involve ourselves better in our community and to give back where we live, work and play.”
With their dedication to perfection in their crafts and warm, friendly service, southeastern Connecticut is proud to have the Marku family as part of our community.
Buon Appetito is located at 386 Norwich-Westerly Road in North Stonington. Visit buonappetitoristorante.com or call 860-535-2333 for more information.