Alberto’s Italian Restaurant in Bennington celebrates 75th anniversary

  • Alberto's Italian Restaurant has been a staple of Bennington for the past 75 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Alberto's Italian Restaurant has been a staple of Bennington for the past 75 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Alberto's Italian Restaurant has been a staple of Bennington for the past 75 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Alberto's Italian Restaurant has been a staple of Bennington for the past 75 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Alberto's Italian Restaurant has been a staple of Bennington for the past 75 years. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/18/2019 10:09:48 AM

For more than 75 years, Alberto’s Italian Restaurant has been in the family.

Owner Joe Cuddemi inherited the business from his father, Albert “Bat” Cuddemi. The restaurant was once an 1875 home, until Bat converted to a family sit-down place. Bat started the restaurant as The Riverside Cafe in 1943, serving Italian dishes in a nod to the family heritage. Bat started with a menu of his own recipes, and after 75 years, some of those same dishes, or recipes based on them, are still served today, Cuddemi said. 

It’s part of a sense of tradition that his regulars love about Alberto’s, Cuddemi said.

“The comment I get more than anything else is ‘don’t change anything,’” Cuddemi said. “One of the ways I’ve stayed in business is keeping what people want. There are no surprises. There’s no mystery to it. It’s comfortable, and people like comfortable.”

For those who want to try something a little different, there is room for experimentation and new dishes on the nightly specials board, Cuddemi, and over the years, the restaurants menu has expanded while keeping the classics – along with the staples, there are dishes for seafood, steak, ribs, veal and chicken, and a selection of pizza and sandwiches.

It’s not unusual to see Cuddemi in the dining room, waiting on a table in a busy dining room, cashing someone out, or even joining diners for a meal. 

It is part of the atmosphere of a family restaurant Cuddemi has built since he took over the restaurant in 1968, part his own personality, and part the Italian culture, he said. 

“I’m on the floor talking to people every night,” he said. “I can always tell when someone is new in town. It’s a sense I have.”

Cuddemi said his core customers are regulars. Some people, he said, eat dinner there almost every night.

“It’s built on stability,” Cuddemi said. His chef has worked for him for 30 years, and some of his waitstaff nearly as long or longer, Cuddemi said. “People see a familiar face when they come in. They know someone’s going to say ‘hi’ and their evening’s going to start on a friendly manner.”

Alberto’s Italian Restaurant is located at  79 Antrim Road in Bennington. It is open from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Saturday and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Sundays.


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