September 23, 2007
Mrs. Yvonne Federico
Ariana's Ristorante Italiano

Dear Mrs. Federico,

What is your secret? How do you manage to have an extraordinary staff, preparing and serving such outstanding food, consistently since you first opened over ten years ago?

I always look forward to coming to Ariana's. I enjoy the regular items on the menu as well as the "specials". The warm homemade Italian bread always starts my meal off with a smile. All your sauces are absolutely the best and cannot be matched.

Ariana's serves a large variety of entree options including vegetarian, poultry, veal and seafood. Everything is always so fresh and of the highest quality. The desserts are good, but I must admit I rarely have room for them. Ariana's BYOB option is important. I like pairing my favorite wines with fine food. Many other restaurants with liquor licenses have a disappointing wine selection.

Because Ariana's is family owned and operated, you are not constrained by "chain restaurant rules". Ariana's management is hands-on, friendly and approachable. The prices are comparable with other local restaurants. However, with your outstanding food, your exceptional staff and your charming atmosphere, Ariana's far surpasses all others for a lovely dining experience. Ariana's is a real bargain.

I am so thrilled to have Ariana's Restaurant in the neighborhood. Thank you very much for giving me so many years of exceptional dining.With sincere appreciation.

My husband and I just wanted to tell you how gracious and capable your employee, Luisa Leone is. Whenever my husband and I eat in your restaurant we always look forward to seeing her. Whenever she has been our waitress, she has always done a fine job. She is always friendly and yet aware that she is "at work" and has a job to do. She is efficient and always seems to know what we need before we ask for it.

We especially enjoy coming to Ariana's during a slow time of the day because we love to engage Luisa in conversations about Italy, one of our favorite places.

My husband and I think Luisa is a lovely person and we just wanted to tell you what a difference a person like she makes when we go out to have an enjoyable dinner. I think too often people only speak up when they have negative things to say; positive things go unmentioned. Luisa is an extremely positive asset for Ariana's.

Sincerely,
Carolyn M. Crowe



MARIO MELE

August 2, 2007

Dear Franco:

Just a brief note of thanks for your contribution to making this year's Pasquetta a tremendous success. My brothers, my sister and I are extremely grateful to all of you for keeping alive my mother's desire of celebrating one of the most beautiful traditions in Italy, Pasquetta. The Times Herald was represented that day by Stan B. Huskey, the editor of the paper. He was kind enough to print the enclosed article in the paper on July 26, 2007. The article, like most newspaper articles, is not complete or accurate. Some names are missing but overall the article is rather positive. Also enclosed is a color picture of the event. Hopefully, the picture will bring back pleasant memories of a great day. Thank you again for making this a memorable day.

Mario



Submitted photo
Mario Mele, above center with the microphone, is surrounded by all of the chefs who cooked at the Pasquetta, or Little Easter, in Fort Washington in late spring. The chefs include, from left, Vince Alberici, Terrace Inn at Longwood Gardens; Giuseppe Giuliani, Lamberti's Cafe; Oreste D'Elia, Milano Foods; Gino Razzi, Viva Vino; Nunzio Patruno, Nunzio Ristorante Rustico; Bernard Loke, Ashley Meat; Mario Mele; Josephine Leone, Ristorante San Marco; Franco Faggi; Ottavio of Ambler provided the music; and Franco Federico, Fountain Side Seafood & Grill.

‘Little Easter’ celebration


Times Herald July 26, 2007

Pasqua is the word that describes Italy's major Christian holiday of Easter. Traditionally, Southern Italy celebrates the Monday after Easter in the countryside with a special picnic called Pasquetta, or Little Easter.
Former Montgomery County commissioners Chairman Mario Mele and his brothers, Anthony, Salvatore, Michael and his sister Ann, have upheld the tradition of Pasquetta in their Fort Washington compound for more than 25 years. Each year the event has grown in attendance and elegance of food as prepared by the chefs and proprietors of the premier Italian restaurants in the Delaware Valley. The wine served is the annual vintage of Casa Mele wine made from a variety of California grapes using formulas from Mario's family of Calabria, Italy.
The menu for this greatly anticipated Pasquetta event traditionally consists of roasted spring lamb and other grilled meats. Other delicacies includ¬ed grilled quail, roasted baby pig, grilled anchovies and a superb cold salad of grilled calamari. Extra sharp provolone, parmigiana reggiano, gor¬gonzola and mozzarella were some of the cheeses presented with proscuito and a variety of olives.
Pasquetta is truly an occasion to welcome the coming of spring and to share life's bounties with family and friends.
Chef Nunzio Patruno of Nunzio Restaurante Rustico led the list of chefs with Toto Schiavone of Moonstruck, Joseph Talluto of Talluto Foods in East Norriton, and Adam Mele of Sam's Italian Market.
This year more than 300 guests attended the event, including his Eminence Cardinal Anthony Bevilaqua, Montgomery County President Judge Richard Hogdson and his wife Noel, Italian Counsul General Dr. Stefano Mistretta and his wife Gabriella. The children in attendance particularly enjoyed the opportunity to play in the pastures with the grazing sheep and their 14 lambs in the Mele compound.