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Cinquecento Cucina: Two Italians on board

thumbfoodtruckIf you see a big yellow truck labeled Cinquecento Cucina that is covered in Italian flags, then be aware, there are two Italians on board. Chefs Gen Silvestri and Rocco Bartolotti are taking over the streets of Calgary with their modern take on old-school Italian cuisine.

An Italian shows their love for you by how they feed you. If they don't feed you, they don't love you. Or at least, that's what Silvestri says about his passion for food.

 Silvestri and Bartolotti are long-time friends who have worked on and off in the food industry for longer then they'd both like to admit. Both chefs have a hunger for creating authentic Italian cuisine that they grew up with and giving it a little bit of an extra kick.

They were talking about opening their own restaurant for about five years when they smallfoodtruck copyRocco Bartolotti and Gen Silvestri are proud to present their new food truck and restaurant Cinquecento Cucina.

Photo by Meagan Gill

finally decided to take the plunge. While their restaurant in Inglewood has been in the works, the food truck has been up and running. They have simplified the menu in order for it to be more efficient on wheels.

The food truck menu includes a wide variety of paninis, such as the chicken cutlet, steak, caprese, mortadella and more. "This is just a sample and a taste. I mean we have stuff that will blow your socks off in comparison to this. This is good, but we had to adapt to make it quick and make it functional," says Silvestri.

The food truck will be used for catering and special events. It already has become quite the hit with customers.

"I came here looking for a sandwich or something simple and quick," says patron Jim Vance. "And I ended up with a sandwich, but something a lot more like a restaurant experience in terms of the food. Out of a truck, that's amazing. I love it."

Silvestri and Bartolotti pride themselves on having fresh Italian ingredients. "We have tomatoes coming in from Italy," says Silvestri. "We use hormone-free beef and only the freshest fish. If the fish isn't fresh, we're not making it that day. Even our pop Fizzy Lizzy is an organic product that only uses fresh fruit juices. We really want to take a spin on that Italian old-school and just kick it up to new modern standards."

The restaurant is expected to open in mid-October in Inglewood. Customers can expect an authentic Italian experience. The atmosphere will be a friendly one, where everyone is treated like family.

"Our catch phrase is 'Come try our food, become our friends and then you will be our family,'" says Silvestri.

He says his love for cooking came at a very young age. "My mom tells stories that I cooked my first meal when I was three years old. I was hungry so I threw a bunch of meat in a pot and started putting tomato sauce in it. And I think Rocco was born with a spoon."

"No, I was born with mortadella in my mouth," chimes in Bartolotti.

Once the restaurant opens, the plan is that one of them will always be at the restaurant, while the other is in the truck.

"This is our baby, so it's always going to be treated as our baby," says Silvestri. "We'll always be a part of it, until we can find someone who shares our passion. And our moms are really busy."

It's apparent that their inspiration and love for food comes from their families, their moms in particular. "Trust me, we both grew up as Rolie Polie Olies," says Silvestri. "And our mom's loved us."

Their long-term goal is to keep feeding the people of Calgary. When asked what this food truck and restaurant has to offer that others don't, Silvestri replies, "us."

"With us, it's not about fast, it's about quality. We love food and we enjoy food," he says. "We're not doing it out for the money, we're doing it because we love to feed."

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