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Chef channels Italian roots at new pizza parlor in Emmaus | Eat, Sip, Store

EMMAUS, Pa. – A brand new vacation spot for do-it-yourself meatballs, pizza and different Italian favorites has come to Emmaus.

Affinito Pizza Parlor and Cafe, a full-service restaurant serving genuine Italian delicacies, opened Tuesday at 1328 Chestnut St., Suite 108.

The house beforehand housed Cavaluzzo’s Pasta, Steaks & Subs, which closed within the fall after 36 years of enterprise.

The BYOB Affinito’s is owned and operated by chef Chris Egan, a Lehigh Valley resident initially from The Bronx in New York Metropolis.

“It’s an space very near Arthur Avenue, which is the true Little Italy of New York Metropolis,” Egan mentioned.

Egan’s household ultimately moved to South Plainfield, NJ, the place he lived and labored for a few years, and he remembers visiting his aunt in Macungie as a child.

“Once we came over out right here within the ’90s, Cavaluzzo’s was often the place we went to eat,” Egan mentioned. “So, I used to be a bit child operating round this place!”

Egan moved to the Lehigh Valley greater than a decade in the past with intentions of sometime operating his personal enterprise.

At Affinito, he channeled his household’s heritage as his nice grandparents got here to New York Metropolis from the Napoli/Caserta space of ‚Äč‚ÄčItaly within the early 1900s.

His mom’s dad and mom additionally labored within the meals trade after World Conflict II. They met in a pizzeria the place Egan’s grandfather was employed.

The restaurant’s identify, Affinito, is the dominant final identify of Egan’s mother’s household. The phrase means “nicely executed, perfected, accomplished,” Egan mentioned.


Affinito Pizza Parlor and Cafe, a full-service restaurant serving genuine Italian delicacies, opened Tuesday at 1328 Chestnut St., Suite 108, in Emmaus.

“My father, who was not Italian, was fortunate sufficient to principally get rattling close to adopted by them when he began courting my mother,” Egan mentioned. “Then he discovered how good Italian meals was he!”

Affinito, with sales space seating for about 30 people, serves crimson and white pizzas that includes high-quality elements, making them “a bit extra do-it-yourself than standard,” Egan mentioned.

Some objects stem from household recipes and a few are Egan’s personal creations that he is been doing for years.

The dough, sauces and meatballs are do-it-yourself, and the hen and eggplant are hand-breaded.

Do-it-yourself desserts, together with cannoli, cheesecake, tiramisu and Neapolitan zeppole, are coming quickly.

The pizzas are on the skinny aspect, and Egan tends to prepare dinner them extra well-done to get the flavour out of the dough and “attempt to retain the crispness for so long as attainable.”

“The pizza positively has extra of an old-school focus,” Egan mentioned.

Pizza and marinara sauce are constituted of trade main plum tomatoes crushed by a hand-turned mill, “not combined with a tomato paste or something like that,” Egan mentioned.

The crushed plum tomatoes are candy and flavorful with out including any sugar.

“That is extra basic New York fashion within the well-known locations versus the same old fare – locations comparable to Totonno’s, Johnny’s Mt. Vernon, Grimaldi’s, Johns of Bleecker, Juliana’s, and so forth.,” Egan mentioned. “This can be a sauce-on-top place for the ‘plain’ however I’ll nonetheless do sauce on backside by request. There will likely be margheritas with the recent mozzarella, a pair tomato solely pizzas, and a few which are widespread in Italy.”

Clients can get pleasure from specialty crimson pizzas comparable to prosciutto rucola (crushed plum tomatoes, garlic, further virgin olive oil and spots of recent mozzarella topped with prosciutto, arugula and shaved Parmigiano) and basic white pizzas comparable to white ricotta with broccoli or spinach.

Different menu highlights embody calzones and strombolis, appetizers comparable to garlic knots and mozzarella sticks, sizzling sandwiches comparable to cheesesteaks and sausage parmigiana and chilly sandwiches comparable to a daily Italian and Caesar sub (grilled hen, Romaine lettuce, do-it-yourself Caesar dressing, Romano and shaved Parmigiano).

In January, Affinito will function in a soft-opening part, which means there will likely be restricted hours and sure objects comparable to pasta dinners will not be obtainable.

Greater than a dozen pasta dishes that can ultimately be obtainable embody do-it-yourself manicotti, eggplant Parmigiana with ziti, spaghetti carbonara and spaghetti with clams (crimson or white).

Egan is quickly limiting the restaurant’s menu and hours guarantee employees members get educated correctly and routines are established.

“It is new setting and we wish to put together correctly,” he mentioned.

Some objects will likely be much like Cavaluzzo’s, and a few will likely be totally different, he added.

“I do know that Gary was right here for a bit over three many years, however I ask that folks keep open-minded as I am positively not going to repeat another person’s enterprise and be Cavaluzzo’s half 2,” Egan mentioned. “I’ve to be me, and it is a new menu. Something that folks clamor for I’ll most definitely add if I can, however be mindful fridge and freezer house is at a premium.”

Cavaluzzo’s, with decor paying homage to The Beatles, was run by Gary and Helen Cavaluzzo, who retired.

“We thank all of you a lot for all the pieces, you might have been essentially the most loyal buyer base any enterprise proprietor may have requested for,” a put up on Cavaluzzo’s Fb web page reads. “It is vitally emotional for us as you may think about. We now have raised three nice children right here however it’s now time for us to be with our grandchildren.”

Egan carried out some beauty upgrades to the house, together with portray the partitions a burgundy coloration, waxing the flooring and extensively cleansing the house.

Takeout is offered, and supply and catering could also be provided down the road.

Smooth-opening hours are 4-8 pm Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays; and 4-9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The restaurant is cash-only for now, however bank cards will likely be accepted quickly. Information: 610-965-8070.


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