Italian Homemade Company opens on College Avenue in Berkeley

Amanda Ramirez/Staff

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Neat mounds of flour-dusted tagliatelle are displayed in the window of the Italian Homemade Company, a new restaurant at 2905 College Ave.

Wedged between two clothing boutiques, the Italian Homemade Company replaced the Italian food and gift shop A.G. Ferrari on Jan. 1.

“We wanted casual Italian food as an option to people and fresh food that does not cost a fortune,” said owner Mirco Tomassini.

The restaurant is based on Bolognese-style cooking. Manager Yonas Zekarias said everything from the flour in the bread to the tomatoes in the marinara are imported from Italy. The pastas include fettuccine, tagliatelle, gnocchi and meat or vegetable ravioli. The sauces range from basic marinara to butter and sage.

The restaurant bakes specialty breads every morning as well. According to Tomassini, the recipe replaces animal fat with olive oil. There are two types of bread: piadina and cassone. Piadina is a flatbread that originates from Tomassini’s hometown of Rimini in Italy.

“They are both excellent. It depends on what you are in the mood for,” Tomassini said. “The cassone is much warmer because the fillings are sealed inside.”

The menu also boasts organic gelato from a dairy farm in Petaluma. The Italian Homemade Company is currently the only restaurant carrying this special gelato in the Bay Area. The flavors include salted caramel and fig ricotta. Other desserts include tiramisu and crostata.

Head chef GianMarco Cosmi arrives at the kitchen at 8 a.m. every day to cook all the pasta and sauce fresh from scratch. Cosmi is a graduate from the ALMA International School of Italian Cuisine in Parma, Italy. He worked for a restaurant with two Michelin stars in Italy before being recruited to work for the Italian Homemade Company’s North Beach location. Though he has difficulty choosing his favorite dish to cook, he said the lasagna is one of the most popular dishes. It is filled with Bolognese sauce.

Small cafe tables and Italian decor add to the authenticity of the place, and Italian can be heard among the staff members. Though Berkeley students enjoy a wide variety of Italian restaurants, the environment of the Italian Homemade Company aims for a casual and friendly twist on Italian dining.

There are already two existing locations of Italian Homemade Company in San Francisco’s North Beach and Union Street. Tomassini said he is planning for a fourth location in Hayes Valley.

According to Tomassini, the Berkeley location is completely set up but is still waiting on its beer and wine license.

Tomassini expressed his excitement about the location. He wanted to open the restaurant in Berkeley “because we loved the place and the people and we want to cater to students and families,” Tomassini said.

Contact Isabella Sabri at [email protected].