|The Sincavage family. Photo by Marisa S. Cohen Photography|
Passion and positive energy are infectious. And, that’s exactly what Yvette Sincavage of Skappo Italian Wine Bar, Skappo Mercato, and Skappo Family Kitchen radiates when you talk to her. It’s no wonder then, why her family’s businesses are so successful.
Yvette and her two brothers were scattered all around the country embarking on their own careers, but their mom Anna found a way to bring the family together again. Mom wanted to recreate Calendimaggio celebrations from her hometown of Assisi. The celebrations are held to herald spring and mark a centuries-old family rivalry that shaped Assisi’s history. Anna along with her husband Thomas brought their version of the celebration to locations all over Connecticut on weekends, and of course, the kids would all come home to help. After one such event, the family had finished up for the night and Yvette recalls someone wondering aloud as they locked the doors, what would it be like if this was our place? What if we did this all the time? And that was the spark that started it all for the family business. Soon after, the family found a space of their own and opened Skappo Italian Wine Bar. “The rest is history,” says Yvette.
Opened in 2004, the thriving 32-seat intimate Italian restaurant is about bringing people together to enjoy not only delicious food but also the experience of sharing a meal and interacting with one another. Growing up Yvette said “dinner time was together time” and that’s what they try to do at the restaurant. Yvette said one of her favorite things is seeing returning customers. Customers who came on their first date are now coming back with their growing families.
|One of the sandwiches you’ll find at Skappo Mercato: Amore – BBQ Pulled Pork, Cole Slaw, Skappo Savory Apple Plum Spread.
Photo by Marisa S. Cohen Photography
The restaurant also became a launching pad for other family ventures. Eight years ago they opened the gourmet shop and lunch spot, Skappo Mercato. At the market, in addition to selling imported Italian treats, the family whips up sandwiches with Italian-inspired ingredients. They initially were making homemade spreads for the sandwiches, but then people started asking to buy the spreads themselves. So, six years ago they launched their own line of spreads and chutneys, Skappo Family Kitchen, selling them at area farmer’s markets and at the shop. They were a huge hit and now you can also find them at over thirty outlets around Connecticut. Oh, and of course, you can also buy the spreads online. They are planning to scale up production once again in order to meet the growing demand.
Currently, there are four flavors: Tangy Apricot, Classic Fig, Balsamic Red Onion and Savory Apple Plum. The spreads are all natural, with nothing artificial. For instance, the Tangy Apricot spread is made with water, dried apricots, cane sugar, and whole lemons. The Classic Fig is made with water, dried figs, unsweetened apple sauce (apples, ascorbic acid), white wine and honey. I’ve tried three of the four flavors and really enjoyed each one. They aren’t overly sweet and I like that the ingredients are simple. I am currently finding ways to add the tangy apricot to everything from breakfast oatmeal to chicken dinner. It has such an amazing lemony taste. Stay tuned for recipes!
Having grown up in New Haven and with her family’s roots going way back in the Elm City, she said it’s been fulfilling to watch not only the family businesses grow, but also, watch the city grow. “It’s a great thing to be a part of,” she said.
We love this Italian family story and we hope to pay the wine bar and the market a visit next time we are in New Haven.
Skappo Italian Wine Bar
59 Crown Street, New Haven
51 Orange Street, New Haven