Osteria Mattone Celebrates Their Third Anniversary
Osteria Mattone Celebrates Their Third Anniversary
Roswell Italian restaurant Osteria Mattone celebrates their third anniversary this November. Ryan and Daniel Pernice, along Executive Chef Eric Sell have shown ITP restaurateurs they can run a successful restaurant outside the perimeter. Inspired by their travels, the Pernice brothers have brought Italian tastes to Roswell.
Daniel Pernice, a trained sommelier, carefully selects Osteria’s wine offerings to match each guest’s personal taste. Meanwhile Ryan Pernice focuses on the drier aspects of the business. Here Ryan, with help from Dan, answers our questions on food, success and working with family.
To what do you attribute the success of Osteria Mattone thus far?
Ryan Pernice: We’ve found a tremendous community of frequent guests who really embrace the level of cuisine, service and overall experience that Osteria Mattone offers. We put a lot of work and quality ingredients into the food, beverages and overall story here, and, as a result, I’m aware that we’re not the least expensive option on Canton Street. However, our guests have resoundingly shown that—so long as we keep delivering on that promise of quality—they’re excited about our brand of hospitality.
What has been the most challenging part of running Osteria Mattone?
Ryan Pernice: I knew that opening a second restaurant would be difficult in ways I couldn’t anticipate. I’d say balancing not only the operational needs of both restaurants—turning on the lights, printing menus, running payroll, etc…but also the necessity of working on the business not just in it is an ever surprising challenge. It is one that I could only succeed at because of the tremendous team we have in place!
What’s the most gratifying part of being in the restaurant business?
Ryan Pernice: Providing a focal point for our community. People celebrate all sorts of special occasions in our restaurants, and that’s always a huge honor. Having witnessed proposals, first dates, homecoming dinners, birthdays, anniversaries and even a handful of weddings here, we never take for granted when guests choose our dining room to showcase the most important moments in their lives.
You’re both pretty young to run a restaurant. Do you find your relative youth helps or hinders you in any way?
Ryan Pernice: It’s definitely been a benefit. Running a restaurant is really hard, just in terms of the sheer number of hours it takes to reach success. Currently, we’re not married, we don’t have kids and we’re able to be more selfish in devoting the necessary time to the business.
Daniel Pernice: It’s also worth mentioning that restaurants are physically demanding labor. You’re on your feet all day, hauling wine boxes around, moving tables, running double shifts…it’s a lot. That just plain gets harder as you get older.
What’s it like being siblings who work together?
Ryan Pernice: It’s been an awesome experience! Dan and I work really well together, and I think we’d both agree there’s been far less friction than anticipated.
He’s a way better person to handle the beverage side of our operations, given his experience and training. I’d argue I’m better suited to dealing with my side of the business. Sticking to our separate “spheres of influence” has been not only beneficial to our guests, but also helpful to keeping the peace within the family.
Do you have any strategies for when guests are frustrated about the wait time?
Ryan Pernice: This is always a struggle because, at the end of the day, we’re in the business of making people happy. It’s great to see the restaurants on a wait because that means we’re doing good business, but we always wish we had more seats to serve everybody on demand.
We see the best results when we’re up-front and honest about what a guest’s options are, estimated wait times, etc… Honesty and an earnest, genuine desire to find the best possible outcome for people go a long way. Ninety-eight percent of guests are very understanding once they believe you’re “on their side.”
What advice would you give someone interesting in owning a restaurant?
Ryan Pernice: Know what you’re giving up. Unfortunately, much of a restaurant’s success comes down to physically being in the dining room. That means you need to be prepared for the consequences of missing bachelor parties, weddings, family events and whatever fun things your friends are doing on Saturday nights.
I don’t mean for that to sound negative, but ask yourself if restaurant ownership is worth sacrificing many of those important events. My family and friends are an absurdly supportive, forgiving group of people. Obviously, for me it was the right choice and continues to be.
What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
Ryan Pernice: Our new fall menu pork dish is amazing. Pork loin with spicy arrabbiata sauce and friend Brussels sprouts. It’s delicious! We have a whole new menu out recently, so there are so many new dishes to try!
Where do you like to eat when you’re not on the job?
Ryan Pernice: Generally I either try something new I’ve heard about recently, or reconnect/commiserate with restaurant owner friends whose restaurants I know will give a great experience.
I often end up at the bar at Cooks & Soldiers, because not only do I eat well, but also I always love sharing notes with my old friend Fred Castellucci. Ditto for Watershed, which is near my apartment. Chef Zeb is just a phenomenal talent and good friend.