Table Hoppin ‘Chef Christopher Rovezzi Villa Sofia Brimfield


Christopher (Chris) Rovezzi is back in the kitchen, having opened his new restaurant, Villa Sofia, in Brimfield on October 8th.

The chef generated a lot of buzz with the launch of the restaurant, and it’s clear about taking a turning point in his career. Villa Sofia (named after his daughter) is his new brand, he said, and not Rovezzi’s restaurant. He is adamant about it.

“I am so grateful for the continued support from loyal customers and the Town of Brimfield which has allowed me to do what I love to do,” said Rovezzi. “I am back to my roots.

It is undeniable that the chef’s career path has seen twists and turns. His restaurant Rovezzi’s Ristorante in Sturbridge suffered a pipeline rupture in 2019, causing “catastrophic water damage” which ultimately led to the restaurant’s permanent closure. Rovezzi said after the lockdown, the restaurant was put up for auction. Today, there is a sign for sale on the front lawn of the building at 2 School Street.

Rovezzi said he had no connection with the property. “It’s over,” he said. Its first restaurant (Rovezzi’s) opened in early 2000 and was located at the back of the Sturbridge Country Inn. “No sign and you couldn’t see it from the street,” Rovezzi said, explaining that about a year later he moved to the larger street space of the school.

At one point he also owned restaurants of the same name in Worcester and Rutland. Rovezzi said he was not looking to open another restaurant, but during a drive to Brimfield he spotted a sign in a window of the vacant building that once housed a pizzeria and restaurant.

“I stopped, looked at the place and called the number. I met the owner the next day.

He said he had other jobs after the Sturbridge restaurant closed. He was food and beverage manager at the International Club in Bolton when it went bankrupt, he said, and has made other stays including Salem Cross Inn in West Brookfield.

Rovezzi considers the Villa Sofia with eight tables to be his “dream job”. At this point in his life, he didn’t want it any other way, he said. The small restaurant allows the chef to focus on the quality of food and service. It’s a far cry from its other restaurants which not only catered for more diners, but also special parties and big events. And the new spot is BYOB. Rovezzi intends to stay that way, saying “customers love the BYOB concept.”

Rovezzi hired an assistant cook, two waiters, a host and a dishwasher. He said he does all of his own preparation and continues to make all of the pasta on his menu. His homemade focaccia bread is an Italian classic. I couldn’t help but ask him what makes the bread recipe so special because I keep hearing people rave about it. Even the Telegram & Gazette photographer on assignment commented on how delicious the bread is.

Rovezzi’s response was that he made fresh bread every day and had no leftovers. “I don’t know why it tastes different,” he said. File under professional secrecy the way it is made. As for the restaurant’s menu, it’s a “work in progress”, with weekly menus and updates on Facebook. Recently, the chef’s menu featured handmade pappardelles with homemade bolognese; cavatelli, roasted butternut, crumbled sausage, dried cranberries, herb cream; seared salmon, roasted acorn squash, sun-dried cranberry risotto; linguini, shrimps, mussels, clams, squid, spicy Pomodoro; Crispy pan-fried chicken with Parmigiano, melted mozzarella, marinara; crispy pan of milk-fed veal parmigiano, melted mozzarella, marinara.

Also, a variety of starters including Papa Rovezzi’s famous homemade meatballs, melted mozzarella, and the infamous Brussels sprout Caesar salad.

Signature dish? “I don’t think I really have one,” Rovezzi said. “Veal and Chicken Parm are guest favorites.”

Villa Sofia, 17 Main St., Brimfield is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Reservations are strongly recommended. Call (413) 245-1176. Take-out meals are available. Call for more information on booking a small party on days the restaurant is closed. Connect to social networks. Note: The new Villa Sophia does not accept gift cards from the old Rovezzi restaurant.

Anyone who’s met Rovezzi knows that cooking skills are family-friendly. His father, Joseph Rovezzi Sr., and his late mother, Shirley Rovezzi, ran the former Rovezzi’s restaurant on Main Street in Worcester from the late 1970s to 1992. It was recognized as one of the best restaurants in the world. city ​​and a meeting destination for downtown workers, politicians and judges.

Rovezzi’s brother, Joey Rovezzi, and his wife, Erika, own and operate Joey’s Bar & Grill in Worcester. Another brother, John Rovezzi, was at one point executive chef at Cyprian Keyes Golf Club in Boylston. He is now retired, according to Chris Rovezzi.

At 53, Rovezzi said he was in a “great” situation. “I like being able to spend more time with my family,” he said. “Three days off. I close early every night, coming home at a decent hour. Anyone in the business knows how difficult this can be.

He is also happy that his father, 95, who recently came from Florida, was able to see Villa Sofia. “The thing with my dad is that since we were kids we know that when he’s not talking about something specific, we know it’s okay. He told me during his visit that I should consider changing the towels at the restaurant. I can live with this. ”

Message from James Nicas

James Nicas said “a last goodbye to all Castle faithful” in an email regarding the sale of the Castle Restaurant in Leicester which his family has owned and operated for 71 years.

“The Castle Restaurant has been sold as you know and as sad as it has been for all of us, we are very happy that the new operators, Sue, Jose and their families, will continue to deliver service excellence, hospitality and gastronomy. to your tables “, said Nicas. The new Castle Cantina Tapas Bar & Restaurant is scheduled to open in December, with more information on Facebook.

“I have been honored and honored to have such a dedicated clientele of friends and clients over the years, we will all miss you very much,” said Nicas.

For those who have not yet redeemed a Castle Restaurant gift certificate dated less than seven years from September 21, 2021, Nicas said “please contact us by email at [email protected]”.

By the way, many people have asked Nicas if the family will continue with events, such as wine tastings and wine dinners. “It is not yet possible, but stay up to date with Castle Cantina,” he said. “Maybe the Nicas tradition could be reborn? “

November 11 Wayback Burgers sales to benefit first responders

Wayback Burgers will donate 10% of Veterans Day online sales November 11 to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation.

The foundation honors the sacrifice of firefighter Stephen Siller, who died saving others on September 11, 2001. The foundation’s mission is “to honor those servicemen and first responders who continue to make the ultimate sacrifice of life and service.” physical integrity of our country ”.

Customers can order on the Wayback Burgers app or website, some of the recipes benefiting local veterans.

The local Wayback Burgers franchise is located at 11 Tobias Boland Way, Worcester.

If you have a treat for the column, call (508) 868-5282. Send an email to [email protected]

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