Scarsella's celebrates 60 years of family and food - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Scarsella's celebrates 60 years of family and food

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For six decades, Scarsella's Italian restaurant has been a staple in Youngstown. The sauce is the same in 2017 as it was back in 1957.

"It's amazing because it doesn't feel like it's been 60 years," said owner Connie Kushma. "I actually grew up in the restaurant. I was seven years old when my grandparents opened."

You can still feel grandma's influence today, from the recipes to the family vibe inside, a tradition passed down through generations.

Connie's sons are a big part of the operation these days and both got their start early in the family business.

"They used to have us make the cavatells. I think I was like seven or eight years old back then," said Dale Kushma, the general manager at Scarsella's. "We have some pictures of him and I rolling out the cavatells and cutting them."

"I first started helping her make the sauce when I probably at the end of my fourth grade year," said Sean Kushma, the executive chef at Scarsella's. "It was funny because none of the family members was allowed to help her, but she would let me help her, so I felt special about that."

Of course, things change over time. The location itself has changed three times over the last 60 years, but one thing that's never changing, not now not ever: grandma's original recipes.

"She did tell us, if we do change her sauce recipe she will come back and haunt us," said Dale Kushma.

"Any talk of changing recipes would cause a war in the kitchen," said Connie Kushma. "You never change it. If she said it was right, it was right."

It's that kind of consistency that's kept a steady stream coming through the doors for six decades.

"Every time someone leaves town or comes back, they say 'Oh it tastes the same as when I was a young kid or when I was 20.' Now they're 40 and 50 years old like I am, you know?" said Sean Kushma.

"There's only a few places I will eat spaghetti if I don't make the sauce myself, and this is excellent. So I just ran in looking a mess. I had a spaghetti attack, and here I am," said Beverly Eve.

It says it right there on the sign: a family tradition, not only for the Kushma's, but for everyone who becomes family simply by walking in the door.

"Seeing the customers come back, it's like having another family," said Connie Kushma. "They are family to us."

"Being around the family, there's a lot of memories that we have growing up with my grandmother, my great grandmother, and my mom, and if you're working somewhere else you don't get that," said Sean Kushma. 

60 years, but the family values and the sauce remain the same.

Even after 60 years, they're still evolving. This is the first year they've had a liquor license to serve wine or beer with your meal.

They're also, for the first time, looking into franchising the restaurant, so the story is far from done.


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