From Sarno’s Bakery to il Capriccio on Vermont

Sarno's Bakery, Vermont Avenue, Los Angelesopens IMAGE file

Sarno’s Bakery

Our family has been serving Italian food in L.A. since 1960, beginning with Sarno’s Bakery, all the way up to present day il Capriccio on Vermont. Here’s our story …

In 1960, Umberto Sarno of Sarno’s Bakery fame went to Naples, Italy, in pursuit of a promising young pastry chef. Upon arriving, Mr. Sarno found our Dad, Antonio Neiviller, and offered him a job, a car, and an apartment in Los Angeles.
Needless to say, Dad took the job and within the year went back to Italy to bring back my Mom, brother, and sister. Six years later, I was born, ironically, on Vermont Avenue.

Rosso e Nero, Tavola Calda, and Luce

Melrose Avenue

Melrose Ave

Fast forward to 1987, we opened Rosso e Nero on Melrose Avenue. Flora (Mom) and Antonio (Dad) created a simple menu of traditional Italian dishes and hired a young Salomon Roman to run the kitchen. First, however, they had to train him—and so they sent Salomon to Italy for three months to learn the fine art of Italian cuisine.

We remained on Melrose for seventeen years. In 1994, we expanded and changed the name to Tavola Calda, which it remained until 2001. We then changed the style and decor to a more modern look and christened the restaurant Luce.

il Capriccio on Vermont

il Capriccio, Vermont Aveopens IMAGE file

il Capriccio on Vermont

In 2003, we moved to our current location (the Eastside) and il Capriccio on Vermont was established. We kept Chef Cecilio and will be sending him to train in Italy. We feel that he and Salomon make an exceptional team—there’s always something exciting happening in the kitchen!

My brother, Ermanno, and I have been immersed in hospitality for most of our lives. Prior to opening on Melrose, we could be found at Cafe Roma, Di Gennaro, Santina’s, Martoni’s, Le Donne Cucina, Emilio’s, La Strada and Villa Capri (whew!)—but enough about us.

Mamma Flora

There’s little doubt the main attraction at il Capriccio on Vermont (with the exception of the food) is Mamma Flora! She defines the heart and soul of our family restaurant. Our customers—or shall I call them extended famiglia—absolutely adore Mamma Flora and will wait in line just to get a hug and a kiss.

So, next time you’re in Los Feliz and want some of the best traditional Italian cuisine—or just a hug from Mamma—stop by! One of us is always here, and you can be sure you’ll be treated like famiglia!

—Gianni Neiviller