After months of negotiations, the lease is signed and the story can be told: Marco Pellegrini will be back behind the stove in 2020. The Italian chef, who guided Caci in Southold through four years of gustatory glory (a 3-star review from Peter Gianotti and a fixture on our Top 10 Italian list) plans to open an Italian restaurant in Smithtown, in the Terry Road spot that formerly housed Smithtown Buffet. He and his two partners are embarking on a thorough renovation of the property and hope to open in early 2020.
The restaurant, to be called Osteria Umbra, is inspired by Pellegrini’s Italian home, the region of Umbria, and his adopted home, the eastern end of Long Island. “I will be cooking the real food of Umbria,” he said, “but with the wine, fish and produce from the North Fork.” At his side will be his wife, Sabrina Vallorini, whose talent for pastas and pastries were also on display at Caci. Pellegrini envisions an experience that will be rustic, but elegant, a menu with prices lower than Caci’s (and even lower in the separate bar area).
The chef moved his family from Umbria to Mattituck in 2014 to open Caci with owners Daniele and Anthony Cacioppo and their siblings-in-law, Joseph and Kelly Cacioppo. The restaurant abruptly closed in October 2018, when Daniele said the closure was for the winter only. But spring 2018 came and went and the restaurant remained shuttered, as it is today.
You can follow the Pellegrini’s progress on Instagram at @osteriaumbra.