EDISON — Residents no longer need to slave over a hot stove in their kitchens to experience the satisfaction of home cooking.
Cafe Teresina is a cozy Italian restaurant owned by Joseph DeSanto, who also serves as its executive chef. The establishment is named after his mother, whom DeSanto credits with instilling in him his love of cooking.
Open since April, the cafe holds 14 tables in a casual atmosphere. DeSanto hopes to attract neighborhood diners with a menu that is not limited to any one region of Italy.
DeSanto, 30, has spent more than half his life in the restaurant business. Among his credits are stints as the executive chef of Hoboken’s City Bistro, and Cafe Cucina in Branchburg.
DeSanto is constantly tinkering with recipes.
"Nothing comes out of the kitchen that I wouldn’t eat myself," he said. "If I don’t like a dish, it will never see the light of day."
Situated in a residential area off Route 1, Cafe Teresina is not quite centrally located.
"People might have a hard time finding us," said DeSanto.
Business has been slowly increasing since April, which DeSanto attributes to word of mouth.
"We get lots of repeat business," he said. "Once people eat here, I see them come back again and again."
One of the big attractions of Cafe Teresina is Thursday night pasta night, with all pasta dishes priced at $5.95.
DeSanto makes everything from scratch, but isn’t above getting outside help.
"I wanted to serve homemade cheesecake, but I don’t have a confectioner’s oven," he said. "They’d come out good, but not good enough."
DeSanto tries to be as accommodating as possible.
"Someone might want a dish that’s not on the menu. If I’ve got the ingredients on hand, I’ll whip it up for them," he said.
Having never attended culinary school, DeSanto prides himself on his personal approach.
"I learned from some of the finest chefs in the area," he said.
And to think it all started with watching mom in the kitchen.