Photos by Ashley Sears and courtesy of Don Angie

Resy QuestionnaireNew York

20 Questions with Don Angie’s Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli


In the Resy Questionnaire, we play a game of 20 questions with the industry folks behind some of our favorite restaurants. What’s your most memorable restaurant experience? Your favorite food movie? What restaurant would you want to time-travel for?

In this edition, we talk to Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, the chefs and partners behind Don Angie, a modern red-sauce darling that’s got New Yorkers and visitors alike constantly setting Notifies since it opened in 2017.

The Resy Questionnaire

1. Favorite thing you’ve ever cooked?

Scott Tacinelli: The first risotto I ever made; the process made me fall in love with cooking.

Angie Rito: A corzetti timballo that I prepared for a pasta pop-up several years ago. I loved the amount of care that went into it and the end result was beautiful.

Photo by Ashley Sears, courtesy of Don Angie
Photo by Ashley Sears, courtesy of Don Angie

2. Kitchen tool or equipment you couldn’t live without?

ST: A Ganji can opener.

AR: A Microplane zester/grater.

3. What pantry items would you bring on a desert island?

ST: Salt, sugar, black pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar.

AR: Since Scott is already bringing the basics, if I’m on the island with him, I’ll bring colatura (Italian aged fish sauce), Calabrian chilies in oil, dried oregano, San Marzano DOP tomatoes, and spaghetti.

4. What’s your favorite place to get a slice in New York?

ST: Ignazio’s in Dumbo.

AR: A Sicilian slice at F&F.

5. Favorite cookbook?

ST: Gjelina: Cooking from Venice, California, by Travis Lett.

AR: Bar Tartine: Technique and Recipes, by Cortney Burns and  Nicolaus Balla.

6. Your drink of choice?

Both:Bulleit Rye old fashioned.

7. Favorite food movie?

ST: Big Night.

AR: Jiro Dreams of Sushi

8. Your ideal dinner party guest, dead or alive? 

ST: Marco Pierre White.

AR: Sirio Maccioni.

9. Which restaurant industry person do you admire the most?

ST: Anthony Mangieri — he’s striving for the art of simple perfection and takes his craft so seriously. 

AR: Nancy Silverton — she has always been so innovative in her approach to Italian cooking and baking, and has contributed so much to the evolution of Italian food in America.

10. The greatest restaurant experience of your life so far?

ST: Trattoria Nasca Due in Cerda, Sicily. We did an “artichoke tasting” that must have been 20 courses long — each course featuring artichokes prepared in a different way. 

AR: Trattoria Cammillo in Florence, Italy, with Emanuela Stucchi Prinetti of winery Badia a Coltibuono. She ordered all of the specialty items of the house and we tasted her wines alongside the meal as she drizzled olive oil from her property on all of the dishes. It was a very special experience.

11. Your greatest professional achievement?

ST: I think winning our first Michelin star was definitely our greatest professional achievement. 

AR: Publishing our cookbook filled with personal recipes we love was amazing as well.

Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito with their cookbook, Italian American: Red Sauce Classics and New Essentials. Photo courtesy of Don Angie
Scott Tacinelli and Angie Rito with their cookbook, Italian American: Red Sauce Classics and New Essentials. Photo courtesy of Don Angie

12. What single dish best describes your personality?

ST: Corn dog. Crispy and salty on the outside, warm on the inside, and always a good time.

AR: A classic lasagna — there are many layers to me, and I’m kind of cheesy.

13. If you could go back in time, which restaurant would you dine at?

ST: Gino’s on the Upper East Side in New York in the 1950s, an iconic old school Italian American joint.

AR: Trattoria da Alfredo in the West Village in New York in the ’70s. Our aunt bought us an old cookbook from that restaurant, and I think it had some very forward-thinking ideas in Italian American food at the time.

14. Your favorite meal from childhood?

ST: Pastina with butter.

AR: My grandmother’s broccoli soup.

15. Your wish for the restaurant industry?

ST: I wish that being a chef could be looked at as a more respectable vocation and that people could learn to appreciate the amount of work that goes into hospitality careers in general.

AR: I wish and hope that the industry will continue to work toward fostering more positive and healthy work environments for its employees.

The iconic pinwheel lasagna for two. Photo courtesy of Don Angie
The iconic pinwheel lasagna for two. Photo courtesy of Don Angie

16. What do you wish you did better? What do you do well?

ST: While I’m great at butchering and creating new dishes, I wish I were better at not being so emotionally invested in my work sometimes.

AR: I think I’m good at coming up with dishes and creating systems in the kitchen. I wish I were better at finding a good work-life balance!

17. If you could eat through a city for a day, where would you go?

ST: Chicago.

AR: Hong Kong.

18. The one thing you can’t resist splurging on when you go out?

ST: Amaro.

AR: I always have to order several things on the dessert menu!

19. What do you value most in restaurants?

ST: The feeling of warm hospitality.

AR: The love and effort that goes into food that’s cooked with care.

20. It’s your last meal on earth, what are you eating?

ST: Tuna melt and fries.

AR: My grandma’s homemade tagliatelle with zucchini and fresh tomatoes from her garden.

Don Angie is open daily for dinner, with the bar opening at 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and at 3:30 p.m. Fridays to Sundays; last seatings are at 10 p.m.