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Cooking up Decadent Italian Dining During the COVID-19 Crisis

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For Hudson Valley restaurateur Scott Rosenberg, opening Il Figlio Enoteca in Fishkill is a testament to just how much he loves the local restaurant scene.

After 19 years at the now-closed Il Barilotto Enoteca, Rosenberg signed a lease for his new Italian restaurant in Dutchess County at the beginning of the year. Only a few weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the entire food and drink industry.

“Opening a restaurant during a pandemic is defying logic,” he observes, adding that, at the start of the outbreak, he took time to pause and consider next steps. He recalls thinking, “This might be the worst time to open a restaurant, but it may be the best time to build one.”

So, with a newfound motivation in hand, he forged onward to craft Il Figlio Enoteca, his updated version of fine Italian cuisine at 992 Main Street. Fortunately for him, he had Ford Skoglund, a Millbrook-based designer who’s had a hand in opening more than 30 restaurants, transforming his vision into a working interior design concept, not to mention a strong community network to support him on the project.

The newest member of Fishkill’s dining scene, Il Figlio Enoteca makes its grand debut in the Hudson Valley in November. For Rosenberg, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, opening the restaurant means not only a return to a new normal way of life, but also an opportunity to re-hire the nearly 20 staff members he considers family from Il Barilotto. He’s creating a home for them and his community of diners in Fishkill, and he wants it to be as perfect as possible.

In fact, Rosenberg’s concept for Il Figlio Enoteca is much different and more developed than the picture he originally envisioned. Thanks to his partnership with Skoglund on design and his own observations about what’s working – and what’s not working – in the restaurant industry during the COVID-19 crisis, he’s adapted his vision to better cater to the Hudson Valley’s desires and needs.

Downstairs at Il Figlio Enoteca

“I think in any project, when you have an initial idea of what you think it’s going to be, it’s always much grander,” he says. “[Il Figlio Enoteca] evolved like something that’s alive. It’s forming its own personality right now.”

As the name suggests, Il Figlio Enoteca (il figlio means “the son” in Italian) is a new chapter not only for Rosenberg, but also for the future of Italian cuisine in the Hudson Valley. At the Dutchess County restaurant, local ingredients find harmony with traditional Mediterranean fare that’s defined by fresh and simple flavors. Pasta dishes crown the menu, while a curated selection of cocktails and wine from the restaurant’s bar enhance the atmosphere.

When it comes to the dining experience, Rosenberg is all about meeting guests at their comfort level. For customers who are ready and eager to dine in the restaurant, he’s happy to offer them a table inside a space defined by high ceilings and airy rooms. For those who aren’t comfortable eating out quite yet, he offers takeout for fine Italian dining at home.

“The important thing for Il Figlio is we want to make sure we have all those bases covered,” he says. “Have I been designing a uniform that includes a mask? Absolutely. Have I thought about air circulation in the dining room and high ceilings? Absolutely. Have I had those conversations with my HVAC people? Absolutely. Whatever I can do to put my customer base at ease is the very least I can do.”

If Rosenberg’s dedication to his customers, his staff, and his concept is any indication, then Il Figlio Enoteca is already on its way to becoming a shining star in Dutchess County’s dining scene. For those longing for that same cuisine they savored at Il Barilotto, the new restaurant’s debut in the Hudson Valley is something of a homecoming.

“I think people are yearning for the experience that they so fondly remember from Il Barilotto,” he observes. “It will be an updated and more polished experience than what they had before, so they’ll feel those nuances of home, but with a new, exciting twist. [My customers at Il Barilotto] were extensions of family. That’s the most exciting thing, that I get to see them again.”

Il Figlio Enoteca
992 Main St, Fishkill

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