Simple Beginnings | Rich Traditions
Emilio & Maria Dacoba built Mangia Kitchen + Bar to continue the family tradition in restaurants and Italian dining that began when Amo and Rose Scotese opened La Cantina in 1936. You can still taste the original spaghetti sauce and other family recipes used by Nonna Rosa, as her grandchildren call her, when she first served up lunches for truck drivers who delivered ice for the ice house Amo ran in Paw Paw before turning to the restaurant business. The Dacoba's originally opened a lunch shop called Bogie’s Cafe in downtown Kalamazoo, but in 2008 transformed it into the Italian restaurant Mangia Mangia (now Mangia Kitchen + Bar in 2018) for fine dining with a family appeal. Emilio learned to cook from his grandmother. As a child, he’d stand on a wooden beer crate in Nonna Rosa’s kitchen to stir the sauces. He also helped her bake bread. “She was an excellent baker,” Emilio says. “She baked cakes and other desserts. Cheesecakes were among her specialties.” Cheesecakes from Nonna Rosa’s recipes are regularly offered on the Mangia dessert menu. The Neapolitan and Calabrian traditions in cooking, that Nonna Rosa learned from her family, call for fresh ingredients. MKB strives to follow those traditions by using the freshest vegetables, fruits and meats available from local vendors and farmers.
MKB offers fine Italian dining, but Emilio and Maria emphasize their place is still a restaurant families can enjoy. Whether it’s a night of dinner and the theater, or you’re just looking for the taste of home cooking without cooking at home, they welcome you to come, sit at our table and “eat, eat!” And enjoy.