Touch of Italy Announces Newest Location in Downtown Milford, Del.
Downtown Milford, Del. recently gained a new restaurant.
On Wednesday, June 29, owners of Touch of Italy, with the help of city officials and M&T Bank, showed off the restaurant’s newest location on the corner of Walnut and Front street in downtown Milford.
Bob Ciprietti, owner of several Touch of Italy restaurants on Delmarva, ‘semi-retired’ down at the beach years ago from The Bronx, New York. Ciprietti came from an Italian background, from a neighborhood called Arthur Avenue, also known as Little Italy, in The Bronx.
Every Sunday, Ciprietti recalls his mother beginning to cook for the day at 9 a.m. As she started everything, Ciprietti and his siblings would head to Mass and later come back to gravy on the stove and water boiling. Typically, the family would sit down at 1 p.m. and they wouldn’t finish eating until 4 p.m. It all started again at 6 p.m.
When Ciprietti moved to Delaware he decided to bring the New York style Italian food with him. For him, his business is all about a sense of community.
“My favorite part of what we do is creating something that we can share with the community,” Ciprietti says. “Also, we’re job creators. We have almost 200 employees at this point, collectively throughout all the Touch of Italy restaurants.”
Ciprietti and his business partner Joe Curzi plan on restoring the 100-year-old M&T bank in downtown Milford to have it look like it did in 1951. The dynamic duo will keep the Art Deco presence it has and recreate Touch of Italy for everyone in Milford to enjoy.
“I think it’s just going to give more and more people a reason to come to downtown Milford again,” Ciprietti says. “It’s a great little old town, it has the potential I believe to become like Lewes.”
Touch of Italy’s Trattoria Salumeria Pasticceria locations include Lewes, Rehoboth and Ocean City, Md. In addition to those three, Salumeria Pasticceria is located in Rehoboth and an Italian bakery is located in Village of Five Pts. in Lewes.
Although Ciprietti’s favorite dish is the braciole with cavatelli, Touch of Italy’s signature dish is the chicken parmigiana.
“We pretty much have corned the market on that… the poor chickens in Delaware,” Ciprietti laughs. “That’s a big draw for us!”
Downtown Milford Development
Milford Mayor Bryan Shupe agrees.
“The reaction has been absolutely wonderful,” Shupe says. “We’ve had this bank vacant for a year, it was one of the first things we learned after our downtown master plan came out so that was something we really needed to address and do it as soon as possible.”
Shupe says city officials were on the phone calling restaurant and business owners and getting them to take tours of downtown to look at the building.
“We’re very thankful that M&T Bank chose Touch of Italy as the individuals to sell to,” Shupe says. “One of the things we would like to see in downtown Milford is more restaurants. If you look at other communities like Lewes, the restaurants really drive that foot traffic down there and foot traffic is what we need to drive to the other businesses and boutiques, the art galleries.”
Shupe says Touch of Italy’s newest location is arguably one of the most important parts of the downtown area, and not only is it important for the town to improve foot traffic, it is important to preserve a historic building.
“It’s a great occasion and we are very happy…they want to be open by October ,” Shupe says. “From their investment in downtown, it’s really going to help some other businesses around here and help other people to invest as well, either expand current businesses or new businesses coming.”
With the development plan in effect, one of the major issues downtown Milford has been working on is parking. Shupe says over the years, there has been a concern of the parking in the downtown area. Over the last several months, city officials have worked with Touch of Italy owners to preserve some of the parking that was behind the bank.
“We purchased some of that parking so we’re looking at it with about 60-70 public parking spots in downtown and also doing some signage as well to make sure people are aware that is for them to park and to go downtown and enjoy the shops and businesses and just enjoy the [Milford] Riverwalk.”
Shupe says he is excited for the new collaboration and the effect it will have on the heart and soul of Milford. In addition to morale, he’s glad the town can continue history on in a unique way, a way that serves other businesses and the community.
Learn more about Touch of Italy here.