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Story by Jamie Buning, part of an ongoing column highlighting area restaurants and the folks that work in them.
Cary, NC – In the newly revitalized Waverly Place lies a hidden gem of a restaurant called Enrigo Italian Bistro. I had the pleasure of stopping by on a cold, blustery day in January. I was greeted by one of the owners, Amy Davanzante, who opened the restaurant with husband Gabriel (Gabe) one year ago. Gabe is an Italian native, and he wanted to bring true Italian-style cooking to Enrigo. Lucky for us, Meri Serpillo came to Cary from Florence to work as the head chef.
Meri began working in her parent’s restaurant in Florence at age 14, and was often responsible for cooking for her family at home. As I spoke with Meri, I could see the passion in her eyes- she loves to cook.
One of Meri’s popular dishes is the appetizer: coccoli (lightly fried dough) with prosciutto di Parma, sopressata and strachinno cheese. Who could go wrong? Every day there is freshly made pasta available at dinner including ravioli, mezzelune, tagliolini, and gnocchi that can be paired with meat, vegetables, or shrimp, and topped with any of Meri’s 12 signature pasta sauces.
I had the chance to try some mezzelune, which is pasta filled with eggplant, parmesan, ricotta, and scamorza cheese, topped with spicy marinara sauce and fresh parmesan. It was heavenly. There is also an exquisite wine menu with primarily Italian (surprise) and German wine, as well as a few craft beers to pair with the food.
A great dining experience is not only about the food and drink, but also the service. When eating lunch, the servers were all very friendly and attentive. I had the chance to speak with server, Jared Miser, for a little while about how he ended up working at Enrigo, and his life up until that point.
Jared is a walking success story because three years ago he could barely fathom living another day. Since he was a teenager, Jared was addicted to drugs and alcohol. At age 19 he had been kicked out of his house, and was living in an old tobacco barn in the woods of Holly Springs. At age 20, Jared went to prison for 13 months, and although he got exposed to the Twelve Step Program, he was not ready to quit using drugs. Finally in 2009, Jared realized that his life would never get any better if he didn’t make some drastic changes. He went to the Healing Place, and with their help, and the help of close family and friends, he’s been sober for three years. Now Jared spends much of his time volunteering at the Healing Place to help others that have similar stories.
Jared got hired at Enrigo after learning about the restaurant from a friend who also works there. Jared said that, “the owners and my coworkers know my background, and they are all very supportive, like a family.”
No Valentine’s Day plans yet? Enrigo’s will have a four course meal for $41.99 per person. Make a reservation in advacne to ensure you don’t miss out!
Enrigo has all of the ingredients necessary to continue being a successful restaurant in Cary- great people, a cozy and welcoming environment, and great food. Treat yourself and head over to Enrigo Italian Bistro.
Enrigo Italian Bistro
575 New Waverly Place
Cary NC, 27518