Pittsboro, NC – I was coming up on my 15th wedding anniversary. Because it’s one of those milestone years I thought it should be more special than simply bringing home some flowers after my day at work. While I was vetting some ideas I thought about the things my wife would like, and one of the things that she absolutely loves is great Italian food. But we eat Italian all the time, I wanted it to be a bit of an event to cap off a bunch of other stuff I was planning for the day. I then had an idea and I called Donna at Bella Donna’s to see if we could pull it off. I honestly thought she was going to tell me to go take a long walk off a short pier. My idea was simple, a table in the kitchen like I had seen at really high-end places in Miami and New York but but one that neither myself nor my wife had ever experienced.
Donna knew exactly what I was talking about, she called it a chef’s table. Without batting an eye she said she’d do it. After confirming the day and time I left the rest of it up to her as I had a ton of other things I had planned that I needed to work through.
Donna did not disappoint! When we walked in in the corner of her kitchen was one of the dining room tables perfectly set up for a meal for two. Perched above the table on a shelf that probably holds dishes or some other kitchen supplies, she had set up a little speaker playing Italian music. The table was set up theater style with both of us facing the same direction looking out at the stove and pasta preparation areas.
The food was great as it always is at Bella Donna’s. What I had never known before was how much work and care goes into every meal. Every single strand of pasta for every plate is hand-spun fresh. I know, we were sitting right by the machine and it got used often. There were constant checks by Donna over the quality of the food as it was being cooked. In addition to our meal she brought samples of the different things that were on the menu for the evening. Some like the calamari that reminded me of my dad were emotionally impactful beyond their great taste!
I don’t know if this is going to become a regular offering at Bella Donna’s, but I can say that the experience was one we will treasure for the rest of our lives.
If there is any regret to the evening, it’s that because it was the first time, Donna was on her best behavior. That means I got a lot less shouting in the kitchen than I thought I would. Who knows, maybe Donna will feel comfortable enough with customers in the kitchen that by my 20th that she’ll really let loose when the pasta primavera isn’t prepared just right! 🙂
Bella Donna Italian Restaurant
Address: 440 East St, Pittsboro, NC 27312