Thank you for your time and interest. It is our hope that you find our vision inspiring enough to help make it happen.
Let's begin with our name...Sorriso means “smile” in Italian and is the name of our new breakfast and lunch eatery inspired by our son, LJ who has Down Syndrome and brings a smile to everyone he meets.
This new 45-seat eatery will be moderately priced and will offer a unique dining experience in a bright, cheerful and comfortable atmosphere. A creative menu prepared by our CIA trained Chef, Ryan Chatfield will be sure to please any palate using fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Open 6 days for breakfast and lunch, it will be family operated with a focus on exceptional service. There will be some Italian and Greek inﬂuence in the menu as we’ll be sharing some favorites from our family recipes and inspiration from visits to Italy.
Our intent is to attract area residents, especially young families for a delicious meal, superb coffees and beverages for both eat-in and take-out. With our convenient Main Street location in Chatham NJ, creative menu, cool vibe, family presence, valued customer service and attention to detail, we anticipate quickly building a steady repeat customer base. We are dedicated to making our customers happy.
But one of our best features is that we will be closed one day a week.
On Mondays Sorriso Kitchen will provide an opportunity to train young adults with Special Needs as it will be used as a "classroom" for education in service and hospitality. It will be closed to the public so students with disabilities from son L.J.'s school, ECLC of NJ, here in Chatham can spend the day getting their training. We are presently working with them to establish this program where we will provide the facility, and they the education. The goal is to offer them a positive experience in a workplace where they’ll be respected, accepted and encouraged as they acquire the real life job skills they need to become employed in the community. As a graduation exercise, we thought it would be fun to have the students create and design a menu with our chef to invite their families to Sorriso to serve dinner and show off all they've learned. These young adults are capable of SO much but just need to be given the opportunity to do so.
In addition, ECLC will be commissioned to print our Rewards and promotional items for the restaurant such as our t-shirts, tote bags,
notecards, etc. through the SKIL program.
Sorriso Kitchen at Night. As an innovative use of our space in the evening, we will be planning a monthly schedule of dinners and entertainment offered to the public. We plan to do so for fundraising, team-building, private events, Breakfast for Dinner Pajama Parties, art instruction events and workshops to name a few. We are excited to be able to provide tremendous opportunities to serve the community.
Why are we opening Sorriso Kitchen?
- Our town needs a good restaurant with farm-to-table food for breakfast and lunch.
- Jimmy grew up in the restaurant business and has always wanted to go back.
- Our son L.J. (17) who has Down Syndrome can work in a safe and respected environment.
- Karen loves to cook and entertain and is an artist and designer.
- Nico (14), has the restaurant gene and wants to work when not attending school.
- We want to support the Special Needs Community.
- Feels like this is what we’re “supposed to do.”
- It makes us and everyone we tell smile…
Born into a family of diner and restaurant owners, Jimmy was raised in the Long Island, N.Y. family business, working his way up from silverware cleaner in his parents 300 seat restaurant to owner. With a BSBA in Hotel and Restaurant Management, an infectious laugh and passion for serving folks, Jimmy is the perfect “restaurateur’ for Sorriso Kitchen. It was actually in his own place Pazzo where Karen walked in one night and they met, ”of all the gin joints in the world...” Upon them marrying, Jimmy sold his business and entered the corporate world with much success at American Express, Tiffany and Co. and Dean & DeLuca. 20 years later, he’s returning to satisfy his passion for serving folks again, and to offer this opportunity to his sons, the next generation of Bellases, and to serve the community.
Karen Coccari Bellas
Born into a Greek/Italian family in Brooklyn, Karen has always had a love of good food and cooking. A graduate of The School of Visual Arts in NYC, Karen has a passion for travel, good design, detail and entertaining. A major in advertising and minor in illustration allow her to lend her talents to the restaurant design, logo, and promo items for Sorriso Kitchen. She’s created a customized illustration for the banquette wall that reflects all things that make Sorriso Kitchen what it is and to make folks “smile”. Karen has taught art to children and adults in the community both at local schools as well as her home studio. She is passionate about the Sorriso vision, the quality of it’s food and service and especially her two sons.
Our true inspiration for so much of what we do, Lawrence James brings a perspective to us each and everyday of what really matters in life. His love of food, people, our 2 rescue dogs, (Beau and Alfie), music (especially Bruno Mars) and his complete purity bring us a dose of how we should be appreciating the simple things daily. His laugh is infectious, love is without condition and kindness is ever present. This child of ours is our moral compass and we love him to pieces. He will be doing what he does best, greeting folks at the door and making them feel welcome.
The child the doctors said couldn’t be, Nicolas Andrea came to us as a miracle and an absolute necessity. He is smart, sensitive, mature, musically inclined (plays piano, sax and guitar) and has an amazing sense of humor. As the sibling of a special needs child, he has an ability to be kind and helpful far beyond his years. Nico loves to cook, watch ”The Food Network” with Mom and Dad, hang with his friends, read Stephen King, play Xbox and is looking forward to being an integral part of the restaurant. He’s heard so many stories about his grandfather’s restaurant and is now looking forward to making some of his own.
Chef Ryan Chatfield
A native of Cornwall, New York, executive chef Ryan Chatfield became passionate about food at a young age. He began learning about the restaurant industry at five and has loved it ever since. He attended Career & Technical Ed in New York where he competed for the Prostart Cooking Competition and won 1st in New York State and 9th in the nation. He then enrolled in the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park where he expanded his knowledge, skills, techniques and work ethic. Ever since completing culinary school he has opened, worked within and led a variety of high volume kitchens while creating and executing eclectic and innovative menus. As a family man with a wife and two small children he is passionate about combining his love for cooking and the love for his family by helping create a creative, farm-to-table family owned restaurant such as Sorriso Kitchen in Chatham.
Please have a look at our Rewards.
The logo and all promo items were designed by proprietor Karen. She's even created a limited edition design for the note card using vintage Funk and Wagnalls Encyclopedia pages to offer a personal touch. We appreciate your support at any level.
Our promotional Reward items will be printed by students with Special Needs in the job training SKIL program at ECLC.
We anticipate sending them out in October once the students have returned to school and have the opportunity to print them. For custom event Reward levels, we will personally work with you to develop menus and dates that are mutually agreeable and work with our opening date.
Why we are using Kickstarter?
Support from this generous funding will help us offset a portion of our investment for the following:
- Create a spanking new ADA compliant bathroom along with tile, wallpaper, lighting and fixtures.
- Upgrade and renovate the space to create a new vibe with:
new flooring / countertop / tilework
paint / lighting / wall art
New front door
- Purchase needed equipment:
Under counter refrigerator
4-burner cook surface
dishware / glassware and flatware, etc.
- New awning and signage / outdoor tables and chairs
We want to turn this...
Risks and challenges
We are looking at a fall opening with October in mind. All our contractors are lined up and about to begin work. With Jim's successful restaurant background and abilities, we won't be rookies to this venture. With any restaurant there are of course some risks, but we feel so confident that the cause and our vision for Sorriso Kitchen is sure to be a success. We have already had tremendous support from our community, friends and family as we've taken them along with us thus far in communicating each step of our process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)