Restaurant manager, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana
Question: Michael Anthony’s has been a Hilton Head Island institution for more than 14 years. What is the secret?
Answer: Hospitality. We have always strived to serve the highest quality product with the most professional service possible, but we believe the real secret to success is hospitality. Being able to serve all types of guests and make each one feel comfortable and welcomed is what we specialize in.
Q: What celebrities have been in?
A: As you can imagine, Hilton Head sees a lot of sports celebrities, and many have come through our door. I guess the one that excited our staff the most was Dan Dierdorf, a sportscasting legend. He is one of the nicest people we have had the chance to serve. We also had Cris Collinsworth, which was exciting as well.
Q: OpenTable recognized the restaurant as one of the “Top 50 Italian Restaurants” in the United States. What is your favorite dish on the menu and why?
A: Spaghetti alla Amatriciana. It is spaghetti with caramelized onions, guanciale, white wine, garlic and spicy tomato sauce, garnished with ricotta salata. This dish to me embodies Italian cuisine. A dish made of a few high-quality ingredients executed well to create a simple, elegant, flavorful dish.
Q: Many items on your menu are difficult to pronounce. What advice do you have for a non-Italian speaking person who doesn’t want to sound like an idiot when ordering?
A: Just use your hands. It is scientifically proven that you cannot mispronounce Italian if you use your hands while talking.
Q: What is your favorite wine flight?
A: We change them every few months, but right now the Tour d'Italia flight is my favorite. It gives our guests a chance to discover different varietals of Italian wines that are outside of Tuscany.
Q: What is something about Michael Anthony’s most people don’t know?
A: We are not just a restaurant but also a culinary experience. In addition to our restaurant and wine bar, we offer weekly cooking classes, we have an Italian specialty market, we have two different rooms available for private events, and we do high-end off-site catering. The common theme that runs through all of our businesses is hospitality … there is almost nothing we won’t do for our customers.
Q: Do you have any funny stories you can share from tourist season?
A: Oh yeah … we have quite a few funny stories, but most of them are inappropriate to share with your readers.
Q: The restaurant’s cooking classes are very popular. Can you give us a useful tip?
A: The classes book very quickly, so get on our email list so you have a heads-up on upcoming classes. You can sign up for our email list on our website.
Q: What is your second favorite type of food, besides Italian?
A: I was born and raised in Aiken, so Southern food will always be a first love for me.