|Passionate co-owner Silvana Chiappelloni in front of a salvaged stained glass masterpiece|
|Alberto echoes Metropolitan Avenue's charming scale & spirit|
In an age of corporate chains that make some New York City neighborhoods
a mirror image of each other and cause some small businesses to close
shop in a harsh economy, Forest Hills retains few old-time mom-and-pop
These businesses offer classic style and have
passionate owners who personalize their patrons’ experience. They make a
commitment to community, and embrace longevity and “beauty is in the
As the owners of Alberto at 98-31 Metropolitan Avenue,
brother and sister duo Roberto and Silvana Chiappelloni provide those
ingredients in abundance. Alberto offers fine northern Italian cuisine
in an elegant ambiance, befriends its patrons, and adapts to tastes old
Roberto attended culinary school in Italy and worked in
stages in Italy, Geneva, London, and then aboard the Holland America
Line. He visited a relative in Brooklyn, who encouraged him to open a
restaurant. As a 23 year-old tennis buff, he visited Forest Hills and
had a vision.
Meanwhile, Silvana worked for a golf club in Geneva, where her family ran a famed restaurant.
has been in operation since 1975, but began where Da Silvana once sat
on Yellowstone Boulevard. In 1977, it moved to a larger space on
Metropolitan Avenue. Formerly a stark white pizzeria, over the years the
Chiappelloni's went antiquing.
A carved wooden bar took the place of an ice cream counter, and an elegant wood front replaced generic aluminum, and chandeliers rumored to have come from the Criminal Courthouse in Brooklyn were hung from the ceilings. What would later become the Alberto logo is a Gothic stained glass window rescued from a dismantled church.
It is a suspended focal element that separates the front bar area from the spacious table-clothed dining room. Two decades ago, the Chiappellonis exposed rustic brick walls and lifted the dropped ceiling to reveal rare 3x12 wood rafters, most remarkably from the site’s rumored knitting mill days circa 1928.
|Did you expect to enjoy your homemade northern Italian cuisine in a knitting mill?|
|Salvaged architectural features from NYC buildings live on at Alberto|