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Authentic old school Italian food……in a comfortable setting
a taste of Southern
Italian-style cuisine, traditional pub style food, burgers, pizzas and
more at Rosetta's Italian Restaurant in Canton, Mass.
Article by Eric Hurwitz in collaboration with Carlo Gaita. Photos,
unless otherwise noted, by Eric Hurwitz. Article
created on 5/26/2019.
Rosetta's in Canton.
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(CANTON, MASS.) -- Rosetta's Italian Restaurant is located in the heart
of historical Canton center, and specializes in preparing, from
scratch, homemade Southern Italian dishes and traditional American
Rosetta's opened a little more than four years ago and quickly
became a local favorite. Owner Carlo Gaita grew up in nearby Hyde
Park and Norwood, and after retiring from the United States Marine
Corps with 20-plus years of service decided to open up an Italian
restaurant. During his time in the Corps, he traveled extensively and
served as a drill instructor at Parris Island, S.C., trained officer
candidates at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., jumped
out of planes and helicopters, did a tour with the State Department,
and deployed for two tours in Iraq. So, what to do after a military
"I didn't want to go into a boring job," said Carlo. "I wanted to do
something different. Yes, I know they say 'You don't own a business, a
business owns you,' but I wanted to try something outside my
comfort zone and to continue to challenge myself. It was a risk, but
also a calculated risk. I am retired and as my brother likes to remind
me, 'I had nothing to do, and all day to do it.' It's a lot of work,
but it is also a labor of love."
Carlo Gaita, owner of Rosetta's (pictured right), enjoys a moment at his restaurant with friend and retired Marine Master Sgt. Jonathan Brown (pictured left).
He named the restaurant after his mother, Rosetta, not only to win
parental brownie points but also to add authenticity to a place that
serves homemade Italian food.
"It was easier, cheaper and less work to open and name a restaurant
after my mother than it was to have given her a granddaughter that she
would have much more preferred," he joked.
Mamma Rosetta helps out at the restaurant by bringing genuine Southern
Italian-inspired recipes to customers looking for the real deal.
"I am fortunate to have great parents," said Carlo. "My mom and dad
(Guido) live nearby and are very much involved in the restaurant. My
mom makes the meatballs and my parents make homemade pasta."
Having family in the restaurant business lends inspiration and culinary
DNA. His brother, Tony Gaita, owns Anthony's Cafe on the Waterfront in
Boston. A cousin, Jerry Gaita, owns Primavera in Millis, Mass, and
another cousin, Matthew Tropeano owns the Spoon and Seed in Hyannis,
Mass (Cape Cod).
"They say Italians either make pizza, cut hair or pour cement," said
Carlo, jokingly. "Guess which one I did?"
There's a nice anecdote about Carlo's mom that reveals a lot about the
restaurant's theme and authenticity. Rosetta grew up in Avelino, Italy
and learned from her Nona and mother how to prepare homemade Italian
meals from recipes passed down through the generations. Rosetta brought
these recipes to Boston and, in turn, passed those along with
her passion for cooking, to her kids.
Chicken parmigiana from Rosetta's Italian Restaurant.
Like many other Italian restaurants, Rosetta's encourages customers to
enjoy a little taste of Italy. While pizza, parm, pasta primavera and
piccata can be found at Rosetta's, Carlo is also wise enough to know
that people like variety. He doesn't stick to just Italian food.
Rosetta's is a good place to also grab a fresh salad, burger, steak
tips, a sirloin steak, fish and chips, a fried or baked seafood
platter, wings, baked cod, grilled salmon, or a Surf and Turf featuring
steak and shrimp.
Surf and Turf from Rosetta's.
"I wouldn't say we are exclusively an Italian restaurant," said Carlo.
"Call it Italian-American. We want to give our guests as many choices
as possible and to include children with our 'Bambini Menu.'
This is clearly evident in the new spring menu Rosetta's recently
launched that is comprised of more than 20 different Italian entrees,
seafood dishes, steaks and burgers, Italian grilled paninis, and
15-plus signature pizzas.
Rosetta's also offers gluten free pizza and pasta and the majority of
the entrees can be easily modified to also be prepared that way, as well as dairy free (or to meet any other dietary restriction).
This same vast selection approach at Rosetta's is taken with its wine
list that contains over 30 different wines, 12 beers (to include local
IPAs) on tap and another 10 in bottles and a full liquor bar that
features over 20 specialty martinis, drinks, and cocktails.
"We want to deliver a complete dining experience," said Carlo. "This
includes preparing made-to-order food, using only the highest quality
and freshest products available and providing impeccable service in a
comfortable atmosphere at a modest price. We realize our guests work
hard for their money and have many choices when they go out to dine. We
are thankful they choose Rosetta's. Subsequently, we remind and
challenge ourselves that we are only as good as our last meal. We, as
a team, have to earn it every day. We relish this challenge and will
always strive to earn our guests' continued trust and business….every
meal and every day."
Rosetta's also features a thriving catering business that is popular,
locally, for graduations, kids birthday parties and various other
ceremonies and events -- and also offers a function room that can
accommodate 20 to 90 guests.
What It Feels Like To Be At Rosetta's
Cozy dining table at Rosetta's.
Walking toward Rosetta's Italian Restaurant immediately suggests a
nice downtown family-style restaurant that looks like one of those
must-try local places. It's located in a house-like structure with a
history that's more than 100-years-old and has served as an inn,
apartments and various restaurants. Right away, you can sense the pride
of ownership with a large Marine Corps flag waving at the side of the
Marine Corps flag waves in front of Rosetta's Italian Restaurant
Signs point to the bar entrance on Washington St. and to the dining
room, take-out and function room area at a door on the side of the
restaurant. Before entering the side door, the irresistible dining
patio suggests a pleasant spot to dine during the warmer weather.
Patio area at Rosetta's.
In the main dining room, a pleasing white and green color scheme, white
linen tablecloths, goblet glassware, wall sconces, leather booths,
padded chairs and black and white pictures of Italian scenes create an
intimate but informal ambiance. Background music adds further Italian
restaurant personality in the form of opera, classics (Dean Martin,
Frank Sinatra, Jerry Vale) and traditional upbeat instrumentals.
The aroma of freshly baked bread emits from the kitchen. All this helps
create a scene that provides the ideal old school Italian restaurant
setting for a nice meal and a glass of wine.
Main dining room at Rosetta's Italian Restaurant.
The bar area has that classic hometown look with a handsome bar area,
televisions with the local games on, high-top tables and more
comfortable booths with plenty of local conversations going on while
the drinks flow.
Bar at Rosetta's Italian Restaurant.
Pictures of the local Boston teams, the Three Stooges, Ted Williams,
maps of Boston and other conversation starter signs line the bar
walls. Various Marine Corps memorabilia Carlo has accumulated -- and
that his fellow Marine friends have contributed -- are displayed on
those walls, also.
The Marines Hymn.
Carlo calmly walks virtually every square inch of the restaurant
greeting customers with a welcoming friendliness -- as if they were
family. He works the kitchen, seats people, takes care of transactions
at the register area and basically makes sure that every little thing
is in place. He is kind but firm to his professional and hard-working
staff. They seem to like him and vice versa. It is apparent that he has
brought his military background to the restaurant without, of course,
the demanding, relentless rigors of basic training. Having never been
in the restaurant business prior to Rosetta's, it is also clear that he
has exhibited personal courage to march forth in an industry where most
fail within the first few years. Like the words of many military
commanders, "Failure is not an option" for Carlo.
"In the military, you typically move every two to three years, things
are fluid, and the mission and people may change, so you need to be
flexible, and have the ability to adapt and overcome" said Carlo.
"Here, it is a long-term thing. There have been challenges along the
way, but experience is the greatest teacher. Success in everything is
preparation. I am fortunate in that I have a great team here that does
all the heavy lifting behind the scenes. Without them, Rosetta's simply
would not be possible. One of my commanders told me, the three things
you need to be successful in any endeavor are; number one, surround
yourself with great people, and I forgot what the other two things
Giving The People What They Want
Rosetta's knows its Italian food, but also realizes that the
culinary trail of pasta, pizza, and other Southern Italian-style
specialty dishes should also extend to other types of popular dishes.
Sometimes all people want is a good home-cooked traditional comfort
foods meal. Rosetta's is just as good for a burger or a salmon dinner as
it is for Italian food.
Rosetta's offers several dishes that customers look forward to on a
regular basis. The Pappardelle Bolognese features slow-cooked beef,
pork and lamb tossed in a homemade Pappardelle pasta and sprinkled with
The cheese pizza comes from a brick oven and favors a more dominant
cheese taste over the tomato sauce and flavorful seasonings.
The turkey tips arrive in abundance and served with fries and fresh
The chicken and eggplant parm combo with penne pasta has that North of
of Boston Italian restaurant quality -- every bit as good.
To go along with the homemade basket of bread and dipping oil served
with meals, the fresh salad with grilled chicken on the side starts
things off quite well at Rosetta's.
Fish and chips is a staple of pubs and seafood restaurants, but
Rosetta's also serves this local favorite.
If there's any room after the meal, try one of the desserts. The most
popular is the homemade tiramisu, often paired with an espresso or
cappuccino. (photo source: Rosetta's web site).
Outside at Rosetta's.
Carlo did it his way when opening Rosetta's Italian
Restaurant and the locals seem to love it. Rosetta's also would be a
wise choice for those visiting the Boston area, dropping a child off at
one of the many local colleges, or traveling to and from Cape Cod.
Rosetta's takes reservations and call aheads, and they are recommended
for groups of four or more.
Although Rosetta's has only been in business four short years, they do
get lots of travelers, to include repeat visitors. The weekend before
the Boston Marathon (in April on the Monday of Patriots Day Weekend)
attracts a handful of runners, staying in one of the local hotels, that
stop in to carb up. Rosetta's is geographically located about halfway
between Fenway Park in Boston and Gillette Stadium and Patriot Place in
Foxborough, Mass., so it's not uncommon to see some visiting fans
traveling to the games and dining at Rosetta's while staying in one of
the local hotels.
Canton and the surrounding towns also have several local breweries
(Castle Island, Blue Hills Brewery, Trillium, Sam Adams). Many groups
of people tend to end up at Rosetta's after a day in one of the local
taprooms. The Blue Hills State Park (which has miles of hiking trails,
an observatory, a petting zoo, and skiing during the winter) is
conveniently located less than four miles away and typically brings a
large contingency of people after time spent hiking or skiing.
That is the key takeaway to the success of Rosetta's -- accommodating
everyone and feeling a sense of belonging with Italian and comfort food
that hit the taste buds just right.
Thank you, Carlo, for serving in the Marine Corps and thank you, also,
for serving us locals at Rosetta's Italian Restaurant!
Rosetta's Italian Restaurant is
located at 521 Washington St. in Canton, MA. Tel. 781-821-2300. Web
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/Rosettas-Italian-Restaurant.
Canton: If it's the weekend and
you're looking to do a little antiques and shabby chic shopping, head
on over to Winsmith
Mill Market in Norwood, Mass. Hundreds of vendors on a 27-acre
former tannery site!
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