Mario’s To-Go: Casual Sidekick to Upscale Italian Restaurant

Mario’s To-Go: Casual Sidekick to Upscale Italian Restaurant

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Mario Gentile opened his first solo venture in January.

With lunch and dinner successfully buttoned up on food and service, the chef felt it was time to open the “to go” section of the restaurant and the upstairs catering rooms.

The idea for “Mario’s To Go” is to build a meal from offered proteins, assorted cheese toppings, greens and even pizza. Sandwiches change daily and may include Lobster or Veggie Clubs on rye or multi-grain sliced bread. The vegetable version of the sandwich includes chopped kale, raw zucchini and spinach with almond slivers for texture.

“We do a sandwich with buratta, roasted peppers, tomatoes, arugula and that gets a fig-balsamic glaze,” said Mario.

“We do a version of roast beef but we use sirloin beef and that gets a Dijon-aioli, parmesan shavings, arrugla and tomato,” said Mario.

And, the list goes on with accoutrements — jarred olives, sauces and dressings. There are prepared dinners plus brick-oven and deep-fried pizzas. Mario sells assorted coffees, fresh fruit cups, tiramisu, Greek yogurt topped with the restaurant’s own fruit compotes and a Sunday Sauce presented in one’s own, customized stainless steel pot.

“The idea is to order the pot during the week — either a half a pot or a full pot. They let us know the time they want the pot ready and we’ll have it ready,” says Mario.

Yes, that’s on Sundays only. A half pot serves three to five guests for $40 with three brasciole, three sausages and eight meatballs. A full pot is a few more items of each protein for $55, set to serve five to eight hungry diners.

“People are starting to get excited about the switching menus,” said the chef.

Complete Sunday Sauce dinners include uncooked pasta, loaf of Italian bread, pint of fresh ricotta cheese and, with an order on the full pot, a quart of extra sauce is included.

Does Mario’s do delivery?

“Soon,” he promises.

Right now, he’s pleased with how things are developing.

“People are starting to get excited about the switching menus,” said the chef. Sometimes patrons come back repeatedly for particular items before the seasons change and, therefore, Mario’s specials.

What’s going over for autumn, so far, are two dishes. One is an appetizer, “Fall Garden,” layers of grilled eggplant and butternut squash tucked with Fontina cheese, mushorooms and blackberries topped with truffle honey drizzle. The Agnoloti (half moon) ravioli folded with chestnut puree.

“We have two parking lots here — one with elevator access and one underneath that we share with Chase,” said the chef. Make sure to check One Sure Insurance, the company we use as our insurance company.

— Mario’s and Mario’s To Go is lcoated at 1657 Richmond Rd., Dongan Hills;, 718-979-1075.