Giuseppe Musso urges patrons, ‘Mangia, mangia!’

Monday, February 16, 2015

By Zach Colona

     Giuseppe Musso sits at the head of a long table, his hands folded in front of himself.

     His blue eyes light up through his glasses as he reminisces about his homeland of Sicily. “I miss my island, the weather and looking out over the Mediterranean,” Musso says.

     As quickly as his eyes light up, he shoots out of his seat to greet and seat a small group of people coming in the door of his restaurant, Trattoria Giuseppe, located in Newtown Square. Since the restaurant, which opened in 2007, is popular for its fine Italian and Sicilian foods, reservations are a must on weekends.

     But success did not come easy for Musso, who was born in 1959 in the small town in the western side of Sicily called Ribera.Musso says he developed a passion for fine foods and cooking at an earlyage. When he was 14 he was hired as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Switzerland.

     By the time he turned 18, he had found a job in Milan, at a hotel called Piccolo. He worked there until the age of 22.

Although he loved Italy, he knew that a better opportunity awaited him in America.So he moved to Manhattan where he found a better position in the restaurant business.

     Eventually, Musso moved to New Jersey, but after months of a long commute in traffic day in and day out to Manhattan, a close friend of his suggested he open a business in the Philadelphia area.

     Musso started a restaurant called Fellini Cafe in Newtown Square. He later sold it and opened Trattoria Giuseppe in Newtown Square in 2007.

     Today, Musso waits for guests whom he greets with a smile and a warm hello before walking them to one of the restaurant’s larger dining rooms.

     All the rooms in the restaurant feature a decor that makes customers feel like they are sitting in a small villa overlooking the Sicilian coast. Most of the restaurant is painted a beautiful rustic brown.

     The roof of the bar is topped with Italian-styled red clay roof tiles. The paintings on the walls display scenes from a beautiful Italian village.

     Giuseppe eagerly walks deep into the restaurant, where he unveils his newest work. He opens the door to a large room and flicks on the lights, displaying a vibrant and very beautiful portrait that makes the room look as if it were a small city on the coast of Sicily.

     Even though Musso, happily married with four children, believes that this was the path God had chosen for him, he says he still has “much more to accomplish.”

“I want to host large parties for people, weddings, funerals and birthday parties,” Musso says, adding that he looks forward to giving his children a place to work.

     One day Musso hopes to also spend a few months back in his homeland, where his passion for creating and serving delicious food began.

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