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Meet the Couple who Explored an Untapped Market by Taking American Cuisine to Italy

Shannon Sciarretta, originally from Florida, and her partner Filipe da Silva, from Rio Vermelho, Brazil, launched The Fig restaurant in late 2023 in Santa Domenica.
PUBLISHED APR 6, 2024
Cover Image Source: American couple redefines Italian dining | Instagram | @thefig_calabria
Cover Image Source: American couple redefines Italian dining | Instagram | @thefig_calabria

Italian cuisine has made waves across the world and Americans have made it their own with their own version of pasta as well as New York and Chicago style pizzas. But now an American family has turned the tables to make the most of an untapped market by serving American food in Italy. Shannon Sciarretta, originally from Florida, and her partner Filipe da Silva, from Rio Vermelho, Brazil, launched The Fig restaurant in late 2023 in Santa Domenica Talao.

Instagram | @thefig_calabria
Instagram | @thefig_calabria

The couple's culinary venture has garnered attention for introducing locals to savory breakfast options and unique flavor combinations previously unseen in the area, per CNN. Despite initial apprehensions about how their American cuisine would be received, the couple has been embraced by the local community, who appreciate the novelty and diversity their restaurant brings to the region. "Here everyone takes care of each other. If one person is not doing well, the entire town rallies to help each other," says Sciarretta.

Embracing the local culture with their own touch, Sciarretta and da Silva incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into their dishes, often sourced from their own olive trees and vineyards. The decision to open The Fig was driven by Sciarretta and da Silva's desire for a fresh start and a more affordable lifestyle conducive to raising their young daughter, Erminia. "The Fig's menu showcases a fusion of American flavors with Italian influences, creating a unique dining experience that appeals to both locals and tourists alike," adds da Silva.

Instagram | @thefig_calabria
Instagram | @thefig_calabria

Embracing the local culture while adding their twist, Sciarretta and da Silva incorporate fresh, seasonal ingredients into their dishes, often sourced from their own olive trees and vineyards. Beyond serving up mouthwatering meals, The Fig has become a hub for cultural exchange and community bonding. The family's commitment to integrating into the local community has fostered a sense of belonging and camaraderie, transforming The Fig into more than just a restaurant but a gathering place for families and friends.

Sciarretta reflects on their decision to move, stating, "The housing market in the States is out of control, it plays a factor in why we moved." They express their satisfaction with their new home in Italy, highlighting its affordability compared to similar properties in the US, with Sciarretta adding, "We've now settled in a four-bedroom rural cottage, with olive trees and vineyards – a set up that’s cost them less than half the $1 million-plus something similar would go for in Florida or Cape Cod."

Da Silva shares, "Our lives before Italy were very busy, we both have always worked nonstop, several different jobs at the same time, and had little time for anything else." He emphasizes the transformation in their family dynamics since opening The Fig, stating, "Now we are literally a family unit." Their daughter, Erminia, actively participates in the restaurant's operations, fostering a sense of community, as da Silva notes, "There are locals that come in with their kids her age and she sits down and eats and plays with them." This familial atmosphere has transformed The Fig into more than just a business, with da Silva adding, "It feels more like a community hangout than a business."

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