An authentic Italian deli in Raleigh? Yep. Ferlo's Alimentari (6320 Capital Blvd., Suite 123, 877-9723, www.ferlosalimentari.com) is a deli and catering business run by Amy Ferlo-Tewksbury and her brother, Frank Ferlo Jr. It's also a bit of a victory for Amy, who has lived in the area for several years, and has been trying to convince Frank to move from Rome, N.Y., for almost as long. She finally succeeded, and Ferlo's Alimentari opened earlier this year.
In Rome, Frank owned and cooked at his own restaurant, where he didn't have a menu. He wanted customers to come in and tell him what they felt like eating, and he would make it. That's the approach both Ferlos want to take at the deli, but they do have a menu as a starting point.
They sell meats and cheeses by the pound. Frank makes most everything on site: salads, bread, soups, sausages, meatballs, sauces. They also have prepared dinners to go.
Amy makes the desserts: cannoli, tiramisu, cookies, cheesecake and pizzelles. Wait, I think their mom, Virgie, made the pizzelles when she visited recently. Amy says they get "all their wit and charm" from Dad's side of the family, but all their culinary skills from Mom's side. Frank and Amy are trying to get Virgie to move here, too. Come on down, Virgie! We need more pizzelles!
We've all been hearing lately about the benefits of local food and locally owned establishments. Here's one thing that has yet to be mentioned, and which I feel compelled to point out: fresh baked cupcakes.
That's right, cupcakes. The Original Q Shack (2510 University Drive, Durham, 402-4227, www.theqshackoriginal.com) has been selling cupcakes made by Joanna Wolfe of Good Taste Cake Designs (489-5778, www.goodtastecakedesigns.com) for a few years now. Wolfe's catering kitchen is nearby, so she keeps the Q Shack in good supply, says owner Dan Ferguson. He sells them for $1.95 each.
I had heard about the pound cake cupcakes, and I stopped in to find carrot cake ones with cream cheese frosting, which were yummy. Wolfe is a wedding cake and occasion cake baker, famous for (according to her Web site) sweet potato praline cake. She surprises Ferguson with flavors, which included "green velvet cake" for St. Patrick's Day. "She just brings in what she's doing," he says. "Her chocolate cake, I think, is the best thing she does."
La Residence (202 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill, 967-2506, www.laresidencedining.com) has expanded its outdoor patio, creating an additional 500 square feet or so for outdoor dining. It has also taken down the lattice walls that blocked the view from Rosemary Street. The new layout is getting some finishing touches, but management opened it to customers on July 6. La Residence serves dinner every day from 6 to 9:30 p.m., and its bar is open from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. daily.