Mike Isabella on Cronies, Changes and a Little Bit of Cheating


Mike Isabella claims he hasn't had much of a life since opening Graffiato last week. But who needs more in life than food inspired by an honest-to-goodness Italian grandmother?

"I eat pizza and zeppoles every day," he said. "I'm here all of the time and I still haven't gotten sick of the menu."  

And apparently, neither have his best buds -- industry folks who have made Graffiato a go-to gathering spot already, including Good Stuff's Spike Mendelsohn and PS7's Gina Chersavani, who were found noshing on site Tuesday evening. 

"Everything has been going great, but we're already ready to make some changes for next week," Isabella said. "The risotto will be different... there will be some new pasta and pizza recipes... but the zeppoles will always be on, err, off the menu," he said in a nod to the secret sweets that customers must be in-the-know to order.

Treating the dining room as his home, the "Top Chef" contender walks from table to table greeting guests who already feel like they know him due to reality TV and other documented shenanigans -- like back in May, when Isabella let a local website look into his fridge to report on the contents.  

He admitted to (a touch of) cheating while acknowledging that he 1.) cleaned and 2.) stocked up to make his icebox a bit more ideal. "It wasn't an unannounced visit. I wouldn't have agreed to that."

No fraud, just food. "'Cause that's how I roll."

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