Written by Saratoga Today, Stephanie Hale-Lopez
WILTON – For the last three years, Nové Italian Restaurant in Wilton has been serving what the owners call, “Italian-American food done right.”
When Long Island resident Louis Lazzinnaro first visited Saratoga County he knew he hit a jackpot of a community.
“I’ve always been involved with horses and I thought Saratoga would be a great place to have a restaurant,” said Louis.
Louis said he wouldn’t call himself a restaurateur. He’s in the construction business, but knows almost everyone loves a hearty, Italian meal. So, in 1999 he opened Sergio’s – a family-style Italian restaurant. Fast forward to just over a decade later, Louis and his wife, Stefanie, thought it was time for a major upgrade.
“We changed the whole concept,” said Louis. “We stayed open later, made individual portions, added a pizza oven, we now offer take-out and deliveries, and we got a great response.”
That’s when Sergio’s turned into Nové.
“We changed it and gave it a facelift,” said Stefanie. “We really put our heart and soul into it. We wanted to make it more of a neighborhood-type of place.”
Situated at 707 Route 9, the Lazzinnaros said they wanted to name the new restaurant after its location. Nové means nine in Italian.
“You can go to Nové and you can get a nice, simple meal,” said Louis. “You can dine with your family, you can go there on a date, we have watch parties there and a bocce ball court in the back. It’s a local family place.”
With plenty of options for appetizers, salads, pizzas, pastas and main course dishes, Nové also has an extensive U.S. and international wine list. In fact, the restaurant recently received an Achievement of Excellence Award from Wine Spectator Magazine for “having one of the most outstanding restaurant lists in the world.”
Aside from the food and wine, one particular item on the menu has taken on a status of its own – Stefanie’s cheesecake. Inspired by a European recipe, Stefanie put her own twist on the classic dessert and offered it on the menu. She said she wasn’t expecting customers to love it as much as they do, but she’s happy to satisfy their sweet tooth.
“Most people say it’s the best cheesecake they’ve ever tasted,” said Stefanie. “But I’ll be honest, I don’t even eat cheesecake. I made it once for my husband and he goes, ‘You have to put it in the restaurant!’”
Stefanie’s cheesecake has gained such popularity in fact, she recently appeared on Bethenny Frankel’s syndicated daytime talk show, “Bethenny,” where she was asked to partner with Alan Rosen, owner of Junior’s Cheesecake in Brooklyn, to make her cheesecake available nationwide.
Stefanie and Alan will perfect the recipe and go on-air to sell it on QVC.
“We’ll be on QVC soon, we still have to work some things out,” said Stefanie. “I’m very excited, I can’t wait!”
The Lazzinnaros are certainly proud of the success Nové has had, but they’re looking forward to the future as well. They recently purchased property on Caroline Street in Saratoga Springs and are working on opening another restaurant.