Kathryn and Fabrizio D’Antonio make a great team running one of the Clarence Valley’s favourite Italian eateries, but it may never have happened if not for a chance encounter down a dark trail somewhere in the hills of Italy’s southern coast.
How did you meet?
Kathryn: We met on a tiny road in the hills of the Sorrento Peninsula, in Italy’s Amalfi Coast. I had just arrived in Italy for the wedding of some good friends. It was dark, and late, and the GPS had directed the car down an old donkey trail. I called the groom, who said he’d bring a friend along to help. A few moments later, a Vespa came cruising around the corner. Fabrizio was the friend…
Fabrizio (laughing): I was very happy to rescue her.
Was owning a restaurant in Yamba always in your plan?
Kathryn: Not at all! We were living in Italy, where we got married and had our son. My grandmother was born in Palmer’s Island and I still have relatives in the area, so we were here visiting. Fab met the former owners by chance. They got chatting, and it turned out they had an Italian restaurant they wanted to sell.
Fabrizio: It was a nice surprise. The cuisine in my region, Campania, is known for being very fresh and light, using fresh seafood and seasonal vegetables, so the local produce here is perfect. In the end, it was a very easy decision.
What makes your team work?
Kathryn: We have fairly clear roles and strengths, which makes it easier. We do it because we love it. It’s nice having a family business and bringing our little one in to “help”. He loves answering the phone, and reorganising the Italian products under the bar.
What is the most important thing to remember in a relationship?
Fabrizio (laughing): Wine, and gelato.
How would you describe The Italian on the Hill to someone who’s never eaten there?
Kathryn: It’s our little slice of La Dolce Vita in the heart of beautiful Yamba. The food and flavours that we serve are inspired by the long culinary traditions of the Amalfi Coast, where both Fab and our son were born. Our food is authentic and traditional Italian, using the freshest Yamba seafood, locally farmed produce and premium meats. It is all handmade with love, including our pastas and our pizza dough, which is allowed to rise for 72 hours, just as it is in Italy.
What do you love most about living in the Clarence Valley?
Fabrizio: The great people, beautiful scenery, and so much on offer. What’s not to love?
Written by: Claire Morton
Photo: Gary Parker