By Rachel Ann Johnson
While many restaurant owners may be feeling the effects of a tough economy, the owner of Della’s Delectables, a Brandon staple, is preparing to celebrate 25 years of business. Beverly DellaGrotta, Della’s namesake, consistently displays enthusiasm for her work and uses her fervor as motivation. “I have a passion for cooking and a passion for taking care of people,” she said.
The renowned restaurateur’s dedication extends beyond creating the deli fare she serves each weekday, which is anything but typical. “I get here between four thirty and five in the morning and make six different homemade soups. My homemade soups are kind of what I’m known for,” said DellaGrotta, who takes pride in doing things the old-fashioned way – from scratch. Whether making sandwiches, salads, soups, or breakfast items, she points out that the diverse menu offers dishes made with only the finest ingredients. With choices ranging from grilled cheese and pressed Cuban sandwiches to her original family recipe for chicken salad, she says the flavors have remained consistent for 25 years.
After breakfast and lunch service, the casual café atmosphere is transformed into Della’s After Dark on Friday and Saturday evenings, offering fine dining and live jazz music. Chef Debbie Frangipane’s expertise is realized in appetizers consisting of gator or octopus and main dishes of risotto or lamb, for example. The extensive menu is rounded out by such decadent desserts as cocoa espresso ravioli.
As DellaGrotta reflects on the success of her local eatery, she appreciates her relatively unique position in the food service industry where she says many independents are falling by the wayside. She readily admits she couldn’t do what she does without the support of her husband, Tony DellaGrotta, who selects all the produce for the restaurant. She says he even has a special talent for picking the best tomatoes from the market. Regular clientele and newcomers alike recognize DellaGrotta’s passion for people and she openly appreciates their patronage. “It’s about relationships with your customer,” she states. “When you take care of details, people notice. I love what I do. I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”
For dinner reservations, visit dellasaf terdark.com and click the “book a table” link and for breakfast or lunch information, visit Della’s Facebook page by searching “Della’s Delectables.”