Local Italian restaurant chef Massimo Mannino of Nino’s Cucina Italiana is carrying on the traditions of its founder and is offering authentic flavors from the streets of Italy right to the Greenville community.
Founded by Mannino’s father-in law, Nino, the Italian restaurant prides itself on the style in which they prepare their food, with recipes passed down by the family from over hundreds of years. Mannino comes from the Sicilian capital of Palermo, but he grew up in Brooklyn where he learned how to craft handmade pizza.
After moving to Greenville in 2006, he and his brother opened Marabella Old World Pizza before joining his father-in law at Nino’s. For Mannino, staying true to his roots and delivering authentic Italian cuisine is the passion which fuels his work for Nino’s.
“We love the people and community in Greenville. We fell in love with it as soon as we moved here. I think it’s good for the area to have access to quality Italian food,” Mannino said.
While working at Nino’s, Mannino has also managed to compete in culinary competitions and expos, winning the title in the 2018 International Pizza Challenge Traditional Regional for the Southeast Division as well as the world championship in the 2017 Northeast Pasta Showdown.
Mannino said the experience of competing also allowed him to utilize new ingredients in his recipes.
“It’s nice to win, but at the same time, you learn from other people. You’re always learning how to use new ingredients and techniques,” Mannino said.
The chef also expressed his pride in winning the Southeast regional for his traditional pizza, representing his primary business, Marabella’s.
“Winning the pizza competition was nice, it felt so good that people liked our food, and to be able to bring that home made me feel proud,” Mannino said. “It was like I won for my customers.”
When he is not competing, Mannino is usually spends his time working at Nino’s. The restaurant has been noted for preparing its food in house and its relaxing environment.
Bartender of the restaurant, Shelby Powel, commented on working for a family owned restaurant in comparison to a franchise.
“Working at a family owned restaurant really makes a difference to the staff. We’re very open to feedback and suggestions from customers, and I feel like my opinion matters as an employee. The owner is really energized and helps out a lot,” Powell said.
On the comparison to the larger Italian restaurants in the Greenville area, Powell said that Nino’s is “one of the more popular Italian restaurants” in the area offering better quality food with fresh ingredients.
Local Instagram food blogger Karringtyn Russel, known as Greenville Foodie On The Go, frequently dines at Ninos and said she has nothing but praise for the restaurant and its flavorful dishes.
“I eat at Nino's probably once every week or two. It's definitely one of my favorite spots for lunch or dinner,” Russel said.
More on Massimo Mannino and Nino’s Cucina Italiana can be found on their website at www.ninoscucinaitaliana.com