HOUSTON -- Today’s Neighborhood Eats location is Antonia’s Italian Ristorante located off Highway 290 and Fry Road in Cypress.
The very popular lasagna is topped by the family matriarch’s secret sauce.
"Her sauce will never leave the stove until five hours later,” said Chef-Owner Roberto Rossa, speaking of his grandmother’s marinara sauce. “Five hours, slow cooking."
Rossa learned to cook from his beloved grandmother Antonia. Her name is on the building. When Rossa talks about her, it's like she's right there with him.
"Getting a hug from your grandmother, that she would also smell like garlic and also have tomatoes in her hand,” he said, “It was something that she brought into it and she passed that along and I fell in love with cooking."
He said he operates his business using his grandmother’s philosophy.
"Whatever you do in life, have passion, not to take any short cuts no matter how difficult the task is and to have pride of what you do," he said.
Rossa opened his first restaurant in Boston when he was only 19. He trained with some of the world's top chefs. His family has been in the restaurant business for generations.
Rossa moved to the Houston area several years ago after his wife and son visited relatives and loved it.
Customers in the Cypress area love his place.
"It's close to work for me. I work over there at Century 21 Realty Partners, so it's really quick to come over here and grab some lunch,” said diner Jessica Venable.
Grandma Antonia taught her grandson to use lots of seafood, make everything homemade and fresh. The rest of the family remains in Boston. He said they know the Kennedy's, who were regular customers.
"They were very down to Earth people. I mean they were just typical Bostonians. They would just greet everybody," Rossa said.
Antonia's original spot is in Katy and Rossa just opened a third location in Sugar Land.