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Si’culi grand opening set for Saturday

7/19/12 | By Nathan Brunet, Staff Writer

BERLIN — Since moving to Berlin two years ago, Pete and Jennie Livolsi have wanted to bring authentic Italian cuisine to the town. The culinary couple’s dream is coming true, as Si’culi is set to open Saturday on North Main Street.

Named after an ancient Sicilian tribe called the Siculi, the restaurant is a nod to Pete’s family heritage. The couple added an apostrophe to the restaurant’s name with the hope that guests would be able to pronounce it easier.

Just as Livolsi’s grandparents prepared their food, almost everything in Si’culi is made in-house from scratch.

“We’re sticklers for freshness,” he said. “You’re not going to get the authentic flavor of Italy with frozen ravioli.”

Both chefs — who have a combined 27 years of experience in the profession — said although some breads and pastas are store-bought, most are hand-made and everything on the menu will eventually be prepared in the restaurant.

“We didn’t want to go in over our heads,” said Jennie.

The couple expects the menu’s Neapolitan pizzas will be Si’culi’s most popular entrée. Neapolitan pies are topped with tomato sauce and cheese, just as those made in the United States, but do not feature popular American toppings such as pepperoni. All pizzas, including White Pizza and Pesto Mozzarella Pizza, will be personal-size and baked in a brick oven in the dining area of the restaurant. A bar top situated in front of the oven will allow guests the opportunity to watch their pizza being made and dine immediately after it comes out of the oven.

Another menu highlight will be the daily seafood specials, which will be made depending on what is fresh at the time. Some examples of items that could pop up as specials are calamari stuffed with spinach and cheese, along with Sicilian-style grilled swordfish.

A wide assortment of appetizers, soups, pastas, sandwiches and other platters round out the rest of the menu, which will change between lunch and dinner hours. Lighter foods for children will also be available. The restaurant’s bar will serve beer, wine and liquor, and guests sitting at the bar will be able to order food as well. To add to the restaurant’s authenticity, the wine list is comprised of Italian wines. Stairs lead to a room that will be used as a private banquet area. The couple also plans to hold food and wine pairings upstairs. Both chefs originate from Baltimore, but have become familiar with the area since vacationing in Ocean City throughout their lives.

After moving to the Eastern Shore to get away from the stressful Baltimore atmosphere, the Livolsis were casually talking about their dream of owning a restaurant to Robin Tomaselli, co-owner of Baked Dessert Café. Tomaselli recommended they speak to Ernest Gerardi, who once operated a hardware store owns where Si’culi is now located.

The three started a partnership in which the two chefs would be in charge of all food and drink, while Gerardi took care of the aesthetics.

“It was all pretty much fate if you believe in stuff like that,” said Jennie.

Immediately following its grand opening at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Si’culi will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. A preview of the menu is available on the restaurant’s Facebook page at
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