After seeing world, immigrant runs city eatery
With a little hard work and a dream anyone can make it in America.
Just ask Gabriele Musso.
Musso, owner of Vincenzo’s Italian Cuisine, has a love of food and a strong work ethic, and that’s the secret to his success.
“I wanted to own my own business,” he said.
The opportunity came in 2011, when he bought the restaurant at 99 Maynard St., Williamsport. Musso took a chance, just as do many prospective business owners. But Musso’s journey to becoming an entrepreneur was a little different than most American businessman.
Musso is a native of Palermo, Sicily.
He came to America for the first time at age 5, moved back to his native land, and later returned to the U.S. as a teenager.
He gained some restaurant experience along the way, but ended up training and working as a nurse for a time.
Musso actually was in England for five years employed in health care. But the lure of cooking and of having a restaurant seemed to beckon. By 2008, he was back in the U.S. working at the restaurant he would later come to own and operate. When he bought the place three years later, he knew his time had come.
His philosophy about running a business? Be different.
“The challenge is how to be better than everyone else,” he said. “I want to be different.”
Don’t even try to pry from Musso some of the secret ingredients he puts into his pasta sauce.
He makes it clear that all his food, including the bread, is fresh.
“No canned stuff,” he said.
Musso’s statement on the restaurant menu perhaps says it all: “Vincenzo’s Italian Cuisine is a very relaxed Italian atmosphere with wonderful Italian music. We bring the taste of Southern Italy to you with our authentic homemade Italian & Seafood cuisines made with the freshest ingredients available daily.”
His wife, Daniela, who helps out with the business, said he’s always looking for ways to improve.
“He doesn’t sleep,” she laughed. “He’s always thinking about the business.”
Daniela is from the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, N.Y., but interestingly enough, she and her husband have a connection that goes way back.
Both Daniela’s and his parents knew each other in Italy. That Daniela has more than her share of food industry experience perhaps makes it a perfect marriage.
“I’m happy what I do here,” Musso said. “I’m not looking to expand.”
Vincenzo’s is more of a cozy restaurant, than a large eatery.
It seats 48 people, and a few more in the warmer months when the outside patio is open to diners. Pamela White, a Vincenzo’s waitress, said it’s good food and wonderful service. If Musso and his wife aren’t in the kitchen, they’re likely talking with patrons.
“They speak to customers,” she said. “People who come here are more than customers.”
It’s simply part of the restaurant.
“If you get too big, you lose that personal touch,” she added.
Musso likes his location along the busy Maynard Street corridor just off the Interstate. He receives a lot of business from the local hotels, he said. More information is at www.vincenzositaliancuisinellc.com.