NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Though the location has never changed, Nick DiConstanzo has owned three different restaurants in New Rochelle over the past 38 years.
Capriccio Latino, the location's newest reboot, opened on Aug. 21. It was previously Siete Ocho Siete, a Puerto Rican restaurant, which replaced long-term Italian favorite Mamma Francesca.
When Siete Ocho Siete disappointed its new Latino patrons after being denied a cabaret license in a public and controversial hearing, DiConstanzo decided to blend the past two restaurants to create Capriccio Latino.
When describing how he came to the new menu, DiConstanzo said that the growing Latino population in New Rochelle was a big influence.
Additionally, DiConstanzo grew up in Italy and immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. He and his siblings are all involved in the restaurant trade in Italy and the U.S.
"I wanted to provide a place where local people of Latino culture feel welcome, while also honoring my Italian roots," he said.
The space is large and decorated in a modern-style, with a dark wood full-bar that seats twelve, a lounge area outfitted with leather ottomans, and two large dining spaces - one of which views scenic New Rochelle harbors.
The new restaurant's menu is a blend of Italian and Latin cuisine. Homestyle Italian staples such as penne alla vodka accompany traditional Latin dishes such as pernil (slow-roasted pork, often the shoulder.)
Resident chef Humberto's favorite dish on the menu is the "bavetto al cabernet," which is grilled skirt steak, wild mushrooms and onions served in a sweet cabernet wine reduction ($24.)
Also of particular note is the orecchiette capriccio, which comprises ear-shaped pasta, garlic, broccoli rabe, savory sausage and pomodori di collina ($18.)
DiConstanzo prides himself on growing many of his own herbs, tomatoes and figs in his backyard. He also buys most of the ingredients locally from the Bronx and Westchester.
Lunch entrees go for $9-15 and dinner entrees run from $16-25.
The wine list is also a fusion, providing Italian, Spanish, Chilean, Argentinian and Californian wines which range from $27-$85 per bottle, and many of which are served by the glass.
Additionally, the restaurant has an extensive mojito bar, sporting 13 menu items and over 30 different possible kinds of mojitos. The most popular, according to the bartender, is the Whiskey Mojito, which is made with local, Bronx-made Tirado corn whiskey, lime, sugar, organic mint and a splash of cranberry ($10.)
Desserts include in-house made flan, tiramisu and tres leches.
If you're on a budget, Capriccio Latino also holds happy hours from Monday to Friday between 12-7 p.m. All drinks are half-price.
According to event manager Maria de Lourdes Saona, the restaurant also intends to offer once-a-week specials and discounts for local teachers.
The restaurant also hosts parties and events, and does off-site catering offering separate Latin, Italian, and fusion menus.
Parking can be found in front of the restaurant and in a privately-owned lot across the street.
Capriccio Latino is open Monday - Thursday 12:00 p.m. - 10:30 p.m. with daily lunch specials from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12:00 p.m - 12:00 a.m., and all day for dinner on Sunday from 12:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
All major credit cards are accepted, and reservations are not required but recommended.
For more information, visit their website here.