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Editor's Note: This story is unlocked for everyone to read courtesy of the CRVA, our partner in nourishing culinary exploration for residents and visitors of the Queen City.

April 5, 2024

Where Chefs Eat: Mano Bella’s Raffaele & Madison Patrizi

For the Italian restaurant and grocery duo, pasta remains on their minds, even when they are off the clock

by TM Petaccia

Raffaele & Madison Patrizi of Mano Bella Artisan Foods. TM Petaccia/UP

Folks in the restaurant industry know good food, so we want to know where they eat when they’re not cooking. In this series, we ask a local chef, bartender, restaurateur, or food artisan to share their favorite restaurants in town and what they order there.

This week, we interviewed husband and wife team Raffaele and Madison Patrizi of Mano Bella Artisan Foods. The couple have been on a steady rise since launching their fresh pasta business at South End Farmers Market in 2020. In the four years since, Mano Bella has greatly expanded its line to include a wide variety of made-from-scratch and curated Italian specialty items. While they still maintain a limited farmers market presence (Uptown and Matthews), the business now includes a pasta shop with a dine-in pasta bar at The Market at 7th Street in Uptown, and most recently opened a full-service restaurant and grocery in the SouthPark area. Raffaele oversees the entire cooking operation while Madison handles the majority of front-of-house and business duties. However, she puts in some kitchen time herself, creating a number of baked goods. Needless to say, the couple doesn’t have much downtime, so when they go out, they make it count, although pastas are rarely out of the picture. Here’s their list of their favorite spots — some as a couple, some on their own:

Restaurant Constance, Wesley Heights
Fine dining restaurant with a constantly changing menu, focusing on locally sourced ingredients
Raffaele’s order: Oysters with wasabi mignonette, aged steak
Raffaele’s take: “I’m a big fan of Chef Sam (Diminich). Everything he does is phenomenal.”
Madison’s order: Same as Raffaele’s
Madison’s take: “I like their table service a lot. Now that we own a restaurant, I now see how much work goes into not just preparing the food, but also serving it. It takes a lot of time, forethought, and training. The service at Restaurant Constance is very commendable.”

One of chef Eric Ferguson’s pasta dishes at L’Ostrica. Kristen Wile/UP

L’Ostrica, Montford
Evening tasting menu concept also offering daytime chef’s market with sandwich specials and other prepared foods
Raffaele’s order: Any pasta dish
Raffaele’s take: “I really love how Chef Eric (Ferguson) works with his pasta. He’s very talented and very creative. As a pasta maker myself, I was very inspired by how he makes his pasta.”
Madison’s order: Meatloaf sandwich (daytime)
Madison’s take: “For something as simple as a meatloaf sandwich, it’s quite elevated — warm and comforting, but also fun and a little different.”

Flour Shop, Montford
Open kitchen restaurant known for pasta plus grilled meats and seafood
Raffaele’s order: Squid ink linguine with chorizo
Raffaele’s take: “The chef (Trey Wilson) is really good.”
Madison’s order: Tagliatelle with littleneck clams
Madison’s take: “Basic dish very well executed. We both liked it a lot.”

Gino D’s Pizza, Uptown
Classic pizzeria dishes inside The Market at 7th Street
Raffaele’s order: Margarita with mushrooms pizza
Raffaele’s take: “He’s my neighbor at 7th Street. Gino makes an American New Jersey style pizza, but he makes it in the Italian way if that makes sense. I really love it.”

Sweet Crunch, Uptown
Liege style waffles at The Market at 7th Street
Madison’s order: Chocolate-Stuffed Waffle (with peanut butter, her own addition)
Madison’s take: “Nobody does waffles the way that they do. They’re yeasted with pearl sugar. So good. About the peanut butter; I always put peanut butter on my waffles.”

Cook Out, multiple locations
North Carolina-born franchise known for burgers and an encyclopedic list of milkshakes
Raffaele’s order: Classic hamburger, Oreo milkshake
Raffaele’s take: “We start before 7 a.m and often end after 10 p.m. Many times our whole crew will head to Cook Out to end our day.”

See where other Charlotte chefs and industry pros eat

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