View Full Version : Nonna's

Pages : [1] 2 3

02-07-2005, 10:47 PM


Address: 1 Mickey Mantel Dr.
Phone: (405) 235-4410
Hours: Tue-Thu 11 am - 10 pm
Fri-Sat 11 am - 12 am
Status: Opened 2005
Official Website (
Menu (
Facebook Page (
Yelp (
Urban Spoon (

Information & Latest News

02-08-2005, 12:39 AM
Excellent! We should all try to make a trip down there, even if not this weekend! If anyone goes, please give us a report! I know it will be nice!

02-08-2005, 08:29 PM
I'm looking forward to dining there too. Hopefully, there'll be some cool gift to buy there as well.

02-09-2005, 12:25 AM
We definitely need more restaurants like Nonna's in Bricktown. It's not just a restuarant, it's a destination, and it's unique to our city......not a typical chain restaurant. I think it will do well in Bricktown. The location is definitely right.

02-09-2005, 04:32 AM
I poked my head in last week as they were still putting some finishing touches in. All I can say is "wow." This place is first class all the way. I look forward to eating there.

02-09-2005, 11:45 PM
Luke, can you give us any specifics on what you saw?

02-16-2005, 01:20 AM
In case anyone missed it, this fabulous restaurant opened this past weekend. If someone makes a trip down there, I'd love to hear a report. Looks like a pretty first class place.


"New Bricktown restaurant opens after three years in the process

By Tricia Pemberton
The Oklahoman

For more than three years, she's worked on Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante & Bar in Bricktown, pushing back opening dates numerous times because of construction and other delays.

Finally, her grand opening was five minutes away, and Avis Scaramucci had her heart in her throat.

Just three days earlier, Scaramucci wasn't sure whether she was going to be open for lunch. A problem with the heating and air-conditioning system at a preopening party left her concerned. The satellite music system was flaking out, the waitstaff still was negotiating the timing of delivering entrees and several new staff members had quit at the last minute.

With those problems resolved, Scaramucci now was worried about whether she had given people enough notice about opening day.

"For all I know, I may only have one customer sitting out there," she said, with a nervous laugh.

For the past week, Scaramucci had put her staff through several significant training drills. Super Bowl Sunday, they served lunch to other restaurant industry insiders. Tuesday night Scaramucci's closest friends and family were treated to dinner. The staff served civic leaders Wednesday night, and Thursday they waited on people who had either served with Scaramucci on various civic boards or who took part in roundtable discussions about the new restaurant.

Many restaurants use such pre- openings to work out any kinks before opening to the general public.

By Friday morning, Scaramucci's staff was prepped and ready.

General manager Trent Alcott briefed the servers on a final run-through, while the kitchen staff kicked into full swing. Executive chef Ray Wilson spun from pot to pan, furiously adding ingredients, while others dished up butter, cut fresh bread, poured water or checked silverware.

Then came the moment for Scaramucci to step into the dining room to see what the day would bring.

She discovered quickly filling tables.

"Oh, my gosh, I've got customers," she said, nervousness turning quickly to pleasure.

Many customers stopped for a hug or a quick greeting, telling her the place looked great. Servers began taking orders and bringing drinks.

Customer Heather Pfenninger of Oklahoma City came with relatives to celebrate her engagement.

"I had to come for the grand opening. Plus, my aunt was in town from Omaha (Neb.), and she wanted to make sure she came before flying out," said Pfenninger, who is a regular customer at Nonna's in south Oklahoma City.

Scaramucci has had the benefit of building a clientele at her S Western Avenue restaurant for more than 10 years.

The 58-year-old also has served on many civic boards and acquainted with people across the city.

Many of these friends and acquaintances showed up Friday morning for the Bricktown restaurant's first official day of business.

Scaramucci stooped to ask a little girl how she liked her lunch, then turned to direct a group of men up to The Purple Bar on the second floor.

"This is fabulous; better than I expected, and I had high expectations," said one customer leaving after lunch.

One man simply showed a thumbs up sign as he walked out the door.

"Believe it or not, this is the fun part," Scaramucci said. "All the training in the world is still not like the real McCoy. Now you get to see your staff really step up to the plate and do things, perhaps you didn't think they were capable of doing, and some things they didn't know they were capable of doing."

Scaramucci said she's watched the staff carefully in the past week, observing who could rise to the occasion and the ones that wilt under conflict.

"Sometimes in this business, time seems to stand still. That's when you take a deep breath and just tell yourself you're going to get through this," she said.

There are still issues to resolve.

Scaramucci has hired a valet parking staff and is wondering whether they will be needed during lunch.

Work continues on her other venture in the building -- The Painted Door Gallery gift shop -- which is scheduled to open in three weeks. The third-story entertainment suite and some of the meeting rooms on the second floor still need some work.

The bakery in Bricktown will be serving the south location, and it's still unclear how that will work out.

It's been a long road to this point.

The restaurant was supposed to open in September. It took more than three years in the planning and more than $3 million to complete. The exact cost wasn't disclosed.

And of course there's the long road ahead.

"Now the real work begins to make this the place to be," Scaramucci said.

She's aware that many restaurants don't survive past their first anniversary. An Ohio State University study says 57 percent fail in the first year.

But Friday, Scaramucci couldn't worry about the the long-haul.

"I'm just so pleased with how this is turning out," she said before turning to greet more customers. "

02-16-2005, 01:20 AM
"Editor's note

This the final installment in a series that chronicled the various stages of Nonna's Euro Ristarante & Bar -- from inception to opening day. Nine months after the construction started, the project ended Friday with the restaurant's official opening.
Developing the menu

Avis Scaramucci, executive chef Ray Wilson and general manager Trent Alcott, spent more than two years developing the menu for Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante & Bar in Bricktown.

First, Wilson and Scaramucci created a list of selections.

They then asked a core group of friends and business associates to taste test each segment of the menu -- appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees. The group gave specific opinions about taste, temperature, texture, presentation and cost.

Scaramucci tested final selections at her restaurant on S Western Avenue.

Alcott preferred that the menu not duplicate any other restaurant, but conceded it is too difficult to have a restaurant in Oklahoma without steak on the menu. Cedar-plank salmon was another concession.

The dinner menu also was kept to one page. While the dishes themselves are not simplistic, Alcott wanted the menu to be easy to read.

Cost was a huge factor. Scaramucci said she tried to include something from every price range. Dinner pastas start at $16.50 and a veal entree costs $42. Lunch ranges from $3.50 for a cup of soup to $14.95 for the chef's daily special.

The final dinner menu includes appetizers, soups, salads, pastas, steak, lamb, veal, duck and other items.

Scaramucci kept desserts close to the choices she now offers at the south Oklahoma City restaurant. The lunch menu also will be the same as at Nonna's on S Western, which includes daily soup, salad and sandwich specials, as well as other selections.

Additions include a build-your-own pasta bar and appetizers. "

02-16-2005, 07:03 PM
I was fortunate enough to eat there opening weekend, Valentine's weekend. Reservations were booked weeks in advance for the first week or so of the restaurant opening as well as the restaurant was accepting no walk-ins. After leaving the Blazers game early dressed in dress clothes and sport coat, my date and I pulled up to the Valet and had them secure a table for us despite the demand. We were immediately seated in the most private booth on the lower level. I was very impressed upon arrival, the service of the valet, hostess, and the overall elegant atmosphere unparalleled in OKC. A very upscale, vibrant crowd was present and live music was playing.

Upon our seating, however was another experience. The number of work staff was well more than sufficient. After sitting down, a good 10-15 minutes passed before the waitress bothered to even introduce herself. After practically waiving her back to the table she brought our menus. Another few minutes passed before she took our drink order. Another 10 minutes passed before our glasses of water arrived. After about another 10 minutes she finally took our orders. Granted our waitress was working two tables, one larger one (about 10 people) directly adjacent from us. Of course we knew the larger table would get more attention however her walking by at least 10 times during this period was unacceptable. After 35+ mins, a free appetizer, a bruschetta type bread with red pepper hummus (excellent) arrived, our Caesar salad was prepared before our table about ten minutes later. Granted the presentation and atmosphere is very nice, the salad was clearly not worth the $8.50 a piece price. Quality was just decent, but definetely not any better than Olive Garden or something much less classier. After this, we waited another 20 mins or so for our main course. It never arrived. After this I had had enough. I had approached what appeared to be a manager who was talking with the owner Avis Scaramucci and her husband who seemed to almost care less. All he did was come take the menu's quickly from our table the waitress never picked back up but never bothered to ask what I got up and approached him about. I again flagged down another waitress and had them bring another manager out. She was very courteous and addressed our concerns. I advised her of the lack of addressing the issue beforehand in front of the owners, etc. Avis, then came and sat with us for a good 30 mins just talking about our experience and life in general. Once she found out who I was she made sure to make sure the situation was rectified. She was reasonable and sincere and I will not further elaborate into detail.

Although I we had quite an unexpected experience, I will probably give it another shot because I love the atmosphere and is a unique niche in downtown OKC. I recommend everyone give it a try once. The upstairs Purple Bar is also very upscale and unique. Price wise expect to spend a good $16 on up per person.

02-18-2005, 12:08 AM
At least Avis came over to you and tried to rectify the situation. That shows class. Since it was the first weekend, I'd give them some leeway. Hopefully they'll get the problems worked out before too long. One thing you have to remember, Avis had to hire several new people just days before the opening. Many unexpectedly quit on her during training...guess they couldn't take the pressure.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us. Glad to hear the atmosphere is superb.

02-18-2005, 01:29 AM
Here's a comment that was made on downtownguy's blog by "bitstop". It provides a little different twist on Nona's. It can also be found at

Here's another opinion...

"I ate at Nona's on Valentine's night. I had reservations at 8:30 p.m., but was delayed until 8:45 p.m. They held my reservation and seated us immediately. The hostess moved our dishes when we decided that we both wanted to sit on the same side of our booth.

Our server greeted us within a minute or two, left a menu and took our drink orders. She returned within a few minutes, answered our questions about some food items (Including telling us about the dishes that she had tried, and admitting to those she had not).

We got our free appetizer and bread in short order. But (and this is about the only complaint I had) I never received my soup. I told the waitress that I hadn't received any soup when she showed up with our entrees. She apologized, and put it off on the mysterious "they" (as in "I thought 'they' had brought it). I cancelled the soup order.

The food was great. In fact, it was one of the best meals I've had locally. My salmon was hot, moist, perfectly cooked with a wonderful sweet glaze and was presented with delicious and interestingly displayed veggies.

Not to dwell on the front-page review, but to say that anything served at Nona's is comparable to Olive Garden cuisine is ridiculous.

My wife's Roman chicken was great. I nabbed a bite and it tasted almost like steak. She enjoyed it immensely.

We ordered bread pudding for dessert. It also was very good -- warm, fresh and tasty.

Our tab was a bit more than $50. (We could easily have spent twice as much with pricier entrees and wine; Lunch is cheaper) After we finished, we went upstairs to the Purple Bar and wandered around the executive suites to check out the eclectic decorating. An impressive place to take out-of-town visitors who appreciate fine dining.

All in all, a good experience. The glitches with service were unfortunate, but should be expected with a new staff trying to learn the menu, the clientele and the kitchen after a handful of soft openings. "

02-18-2005, 01:33 AM
Ate at Nonna's on Wednesday night. My wife and I sat right next to a table full of state senators and representatives. Frank Shurden was one of them.

02-18-2005, 01:38 AM
Hey okcpulse, can you give us your review of the place?

02-18-2005, 02:00 AM
I expected Nonna's to be another decent but casual dining establishment in Bricktown. However, upon entering, the hostess asked if we had reservations. I knew right then this was definitely going to be an upscale experience. And it was.

My wife and I were seated, and both our coats were checked. We were then given dinner menus, a specialty menu, and a wine list. A rather extensive wine list. The waitress was at our table just a few minutes after we were seated. She took our drink orders. The restaurant did not have its beer menu prepared. I asked for Labatt Blue, but the beer was not available so I had a Shiner Bock. I considered having a glass of wine, but the cheapest glass was $6.25.

We ordered a Ceasar salad, which was prepared at our table. This was after we were served a large cracker with hummus (very good), and bread with the best tasting butter.

The staff was prepared, but there were a few dishes broken and a drink was spilled on someone's table by a staff member.

The dinner menu was extensive. My wife had a 5 oz. tenderloin with roasted vegetables and mash potatoes. I had the salmon, glazed and with a side of roasted vegetables and mash potatoes. The food was excellent, and the experience and atmosphere was well worth it. Our waitress was friendly, and checked on us often. It earned her a good tip.

I didn't get upstairs to see the Purple Bar, but I hope to return. It was obvious $3 million was spent on the establishment. Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante is exactly what downtown Oklahoma City needed. The sophistication of the restaurant is the type a patron would see in Dallas, New York or San Fransisco. The restaurant is also a great addition to Oklahoma City's growing food culture. Check please!

Nonna's score...

Atmosphere- 10/10
Food- 10/10
Price- 9/10
Staff- 10/10
Preparation- 9/10

Overall- 9.6/10

02-18-2005, 01:26 PM
We ate at Nonna's during a pre-opening serving...
I had the pot roast but was envying the wonderful
chicken pot pie, both from the lunch menu......
all I can say is "wait"! This restaurant WILL
get it right......and will have staying power that others have lacked.....
As far as is very apparent that no expense was
spared......from the beautiful faux finishes on the walls to the out of this
world lighting of the most unique things I saw
was the wallpaper by the restrooms that was actually
made from the architectural blueprints used on the project! Very cool!
also......check out the beautiful color changing
chandeliers over the bar upstairs......
I especially loved the art upstairs that is actually for local
galleries....all the wonderful decor, lighting and interior elements make
for a very high end feel not found in Oklahoma City before....but all that
would be wasted if the food wasn't up to assured that it really is.....

02-19-2005, 12:15 AM
It sounds like most everyone here had a decent first impression of Nona's, and no one is opposed to going back! That's a good sign. I think they'll get it right after a month or so of being open. It just takes time to get the proper employees in place. Sounds like a great addition to Bricktown.

02-19-2005, 01:42 PM
I think a few of you miscontrued what I originally stated. First off, I did not compare ALL the cuisine to Olive Garden (which I despise). I stated the Ceaser salads that were prepared in front of us were not worth the money and the quality was sub-par of the salads only. I also mentioned the bruschetta [not toast (Okies) ] with the red pepper hummus was excellent. Our soup, like yours, never came. There was no excuse for delays as staffing was way more than sufficient. Only after asking for a manager in front of Avis, 3 times did she finally come over and talk. I have also had others since then tell me they have had similar problems and mentioned several of the same managers names not addressing the situations. There is never excuse for poor service, especially when staffing is more than sufficient and management and ownership is in presence. There were several soft-openings despite a small number of last minute help that were probably not on the front lines that much. Overall, like I said the atmosphere is unparalleled in OKC. I actually gave it another shot, I had a leadership meeting the other night in the Purple Bar, although it was more of a meeting and not a dinner, the service was somewhat better although each of us had to remind the waitstaff on multiple locations to bring the tab out after waiting a while. Like you mentioned, some of the kinks will be worked on in time, like I told Avis and she admitted, the staffing is not an excuse, its the attitude, as attitude reflects leadership and I believe its to blame on poor managers.

02-19-2005, 07:54 PM
It seems like Avis would've responded quicker to your complaints. Did it seem like she just didn't care? Or was she just clueless?

I can understand mistakes being made in the first week or two of service, but the overall attitude of the staff and management sets the agenda for future service. I hope Avis realizes these problems and just doesn't blow them off. It seems to me like Avis just blew you off.

03-09-2005, 11:52 PM
Hey guys, my fiancee just started a new temporary assignment working at Nona's. She'll be working in their office doing general office work and booking reservations. At first, she was bummed about the job, but I actually think it might be a benefit to us. Hopefully she'll be able to get some inside Bricktown information for us! :) It is just a temporary assignment (could be as little as 3 weeks or as long as ????). But, still, it will be interesting to see what it's like for her to work down there.

I'll give you any Bricktown or Nona's updates if I here of any.

03-10-2005, 08:34 AM
I didn't realize it was their opening weekend. The decor is superb and the food very good. I thought the price was too high for the mediocre service. If they stay afloat I might have to give them another try. fyi My coat wasn't checked, long wait for service and my coffee stayed cold.

03-10-2005, 09:57 AM
Yes, it feels like they just didnt care, it was the snotty type management that seems to be too busy to care about their patrons. I wasnt the only customer who noticed that.

05-11-2005, 12:13 PM
Bricktown nabs Painted Door, Nonna's patrons

By Tricia Pemberton
The Oklahoman

After 13 years at 8601 S Western Ave., Painted Door and Nonna's are moving to Bricktown.
Owner Avis Scaramucci opened Nonna's Euro-American Ristorante and Bar and Painted Door in Bricktown in February with every intention of operating both restaurants and gift shops. After months of significantly slower traffic on S Western, however, Scaramucci made the decision to close the original businesses, moving all operations to Bricktown.

Regular southside customers can have their final lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on S Western. Painted Door will have a progressive moving sale beginning Saturday and lasting through May 28.

Most of the patrons of the southside restaurant are now regulars in Bricktown. That has left the S Western restaurant and store nearly empty, Scaramucci said.

"Good people like to be busy, and the south crew is not busy now," Scaramucci said of her 38 employees on S Western. About 35 of them will make the move to Bricktown. Three people declined her offer of continued employment, she said.

Scaramucci said when she opened her Bricktown location she was prepared for an initial lull at her original restaurant and store.

"I kept thinking it was just people trying it out, but it's obviously not that," she said. "It's a true moving sale. The first thing to move was my customers."

Jack Werner, an executive committee member with the South Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce, said he's saddened to see Nonna's and Painted Door move from South Oklahoma City.

"I've always thought it was such a fabulous place. I'm certainly disappointed, but people have to make business decisions based on finances. I'm just glad she has another location open," Werner said.

Scaramucci said she has gotten all sorts of e-mails from long-time customers at her south location. "Some sad, some mad, some with good reason -- they continue to go there and that's where they like to go. I can understand."

The decision was also a personal emotional one. "That's where I grew up, so I cried," she said.

For now, she's planning to keep her offices, warehouse and shipping and receiving operations in the 14,000-square-foot S Western facility, but prospectors already are calling with interest in the building.

05-14-2005, 12:32 PM
Hopefully, the movement of employees from the old location to Bricktown will result in an improvement in food quality and service.

I have been to the Bricktown Nonna's three times and have found the food mediocre and the service appalling (especially considering the prices). Definitely well below the original location on every score except price.

It is hard to understand what is going on there. They spent an absolute fortune to build out one of the most appealing restaurant spaces in Oklahoma City and then appear to have paid virtually no attention to operations and management.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

05-15-2005, 09:49 PM
I agree HKG Flyer1, I've been there probably have a dozen times and will be again on Tuesday and found the food average and the service poor. I'm glad to have this local restaurant/ gift shop as an anchor in Bricktown but I sure hope they work there kinks out ASAP. Avis if your listening, whats the deal? I've talked to you about this several times now.

05-17-2005, 07:13 AM
average food and poor service and you've been there an average of once a week
since they opened?

With that kind of loyalty, Avis needs not change a thing....

I've always gotten good service and the food has been outstanding...

I'm not saying everyone's results must match mine, but this restaurant
certainly is doing something right when even the "unimpressed" keep
coming back over and over again...

05-17-2005, 12:42 PM
Well zulu, before you jump to conclusions, you may want to know my reasoning, I only patronized it once, the first time I went, since then, I have had business meetings in which I have no control over the venue, I refused to buy anything however.

05-17-2005, 01:02 PM
I've spoken to two other socialites who dine out often (admittedly, this isn't a scientific sample), and they both told me:

a) they've been dissatisfied with food and service personally; and
b) their friends haven't been very happy dining out there, either.

Specific complaints I've heard (most of which I've also experienced):

1) wait staff that appears to have virtually no training/highly unprofessional;
2) extremely slow/inept bartender;
3) cold food;
4) slow service.

05-18-2005, 11:06 AM
As I mentioned, I went again yesterday for business, despite my bad experiences there. I only ate the complimentary bread, sounds cheap, but I think just due to my past experiences I wasn't going to patronize them. The bread was excellent this time. Those who did eat had mixed reviews. The waitstaff was as usual, unprofessional to no surprise.

05-18-2005, 04:46 PM
I have a hard time believing the service is so bad, I have heard only good things from the few people I've talked to who have been. Off subject, but has anyone here been to Museum Cafe? If you haven't you should definitely give it a try, it's wonderful. The style is modern (like the museum) and the selections are eclectic and extremely good. There's also a great view of downtown.

05-18-2005, 05:02 PM
I like Museum Cafe. Ironically, one of the managers from Museum Cafe moved over to Nonna's. Go figure.

05-18-2005, 06:09 PM
I've dined at the MuseumCafe a few times, most recently Valentine's Day. It's a semi-hidden gem.

I haven't made it to Nonna's in Bricktown yet, though I had been to the original location a number of times. Let's hope the team gets their act together, though with any establishment, be it new or an expanded concept, it takes 6-9 months or more to iron out all the wrinkles. Don't give up on it yet.

Doug Loudenback
06-09-2005, 02:38 AM
My wife and I went to Nonna's for the first time last night, spur of the moment thing, arriving around 6:15 or so. In reading through some of the negative comments here (I'd not read this thread before we went), our experience was certainly different than those expressed.

All that she and I experienced was wonderful and elegant, and we'll certainly be returning and taking out-of-town guests there when we want them to have something very special.

Service bad? It was great ... we were very pampered, but not bothered. Environment: absolutely gorgeous! Food? sumptuous. Price? High. But it was worth it! We toured the 3 floors ... several beautiful private dining areas and a nice bar on the 2nd floor. As an aside, I found a wonderful 1st book for my yet-to-be-born granddaughter at the gift shop.

All in all, from this first visit, I've not been to a restaurant in Okc which I think matches up to Nonna's in Bricktown. So, for us, it was a very exceptional evening!


06-09-2005, 10:11 PM
I think Avis may finally be getting things straightened out. We went there on our wedding night (May 14th) and had great service, awesome food, and just a good time. I really didn't experience any of the negative things that were posted here. But, that doesn't mean that the negative events didn't occur. I'm sure over time things have improved and will continue to improve at Nonna's. Not having 2 locations to keep track of will definitely be a plus for Avis, and will probably raise the quality of service.

Overall, I think Nonna's is a great addition to Bricktown....just what we needed for the area.

I encourage you guys to try Nonna's again until she finally gets things right. I'm sure she will eventually.

06-10-2005, 04:52 AM
Encouraging news, I will go back and give it another try.

06-10-2005, 09:19 AM
Overall, I think Nonna's is a great addition to Bricktown....just what we needed for the area.

I agree. I had lunch there a couple of weeks ago and I was very impressed with the place. OK, the food was not the best I have ever had, but it wasn't bad by any means. It was fresh and tasty, which is more than I can say for many Bricktown places. If anything, the place itself may have outdone its food, leaving some people less than impressed due to expectation. But it's certianly better food than a Tap Werks, Brewery, or a Vasrity type menu. Personally, I think it's originality, ambiance, setting, and design along with it's good food elevate it above just about every other Bricktown eatery, more than justifying it's prices.

06-14-2005, 01:07 PM
At least Avis admits she's still learning. Hopefully things will continue to improve at Nonna's. Last time I went to Nonna's (a few weeks ago) I had a pretty nice experience. But, I know that's varied for different people over the first few weeks of her opening.

"Growing Pains: Scaramucci reflects on fast growth, sharing she has learned much from her ‘mind-boggling’ Bricktown experience

By Heidi Centrella

Avis Scaramucci, owner of Nonna’s and The Painted Door in Bricktown, began her career worried she wouldn’t be able to fill the mere 25 chairs at her original, but now-closed, Nonna’s on South Western Avenue.

Just 10 short years later, she now serves hundreds each day in Bricktown and is unabashedly amazed at how a 58-year-old career homemaker, mother and grandmother would achieve such success so late in life and in an industry in which she had no prior experience.

“I had no idea whatsoever of what I was doing,” Scaramucci said of her entrance into the restaurant business. She admitted, “people weren’t overly eager to come and work with me. Vendors told me it wouldn’t work.”

Despite working around the clock, Scaramucci said she just couldn’t seem to get off the ground. Those first years were tedious, Scaramucci said, because everything she learned was trial and error, on her feet and with no reference point.

However, the entrepreneur succeeded in never making the same mistake twice and, before she knew it, the skills honed from years of baking for friends and making sure her family got three, healthy square meals began to pay off in ways she never imagined.

With a small, cookie-jar investment, the southside location grew from a mom’s bakery with homemade recipes to a 7,000-square-foot space that seated about 120 for lunch and required a staff of 50.
That growth, Scaramucci said, was at times overwhelming. “There were times when I said to my husband, ‘This thing is bigger than I am and I just can’t do this.’”
Growth is a very effective teacher, however. What Scaramucci learned during the process, she shared, is starting a business, a successful business, means being capable and willing to cover all the bases solo, she said.

Her latest endeavor, opening a near $4 million, 22,000-square-foot restaurant, bar and retail space in Bricktown, was a risk she felt compelled to take. Though she feared losing touch with her local customers at the southside location, the ones she’d grown to know so well over the past decade, she saw the opportunity and potential of ever-expanding Bricktown.

With 150 employees, she said the move has been “mind-boggling” and taught her, again, that it’s necessary to cover all the bases solo, to be intricately involved in every aspect of the operation.

“I’m still the only owner and even though I have all these managers and positions, it still comes down to the fact that I’m responsible for this operation,” she said. “The buck stops with me.”

As with opening any business, untold amounts of hours are put in to the project, and the building process takes time. But Scaramucci said the process moved along much quicker than expected with both great challenges and endless possibilities.

Nonetheless, there’s always the unexpected. And “you’re always going to mess up.”

But the inevitable mess-ups can be blessings in disguise, she said.

“People will tell you that doesn’t happen, I don’t care what business they’re in,” Scaramucci said. “What I can tell you is that we all have moments of reorganization, even if you’ve been somewhere a long time. If you don’t clearly set aside time periods where you rethink and look at your business, restructure and reorganize, I think you tend to get old and passive.”

Perhaps it’s this way of thinking that has skyrocketed the Altus native’s business.

Scaramuuci said sales in a day at Bricktown’s Nonna’s and The Painted Door are similar to what she would do in a week at her southside location. But that’s not altogether a fair comparison, she said, as the Bricktown location has other amenities, such as 10 meeting rooms, a bar, second-story patio and an affluent dinner crowd.

While the South Western location averaged 120 people a day for lunch, the Bricktown location attracts approximately 400 people daily.

Nonna’s growth, however, won’t be limited to the restaurant. Scaramucci plans to expand her 1,400-square foot Painted Door retail store because of the extent of its popularity. She once staffed the gift shop with just two people and closed at 6 p.m. However, traffic into the store made it necessary for her to hire a third person recently and to extend store hours to 8 p.m. and on weekends. Scaramucci said she still doesn’t think that’s going to cover it, though, and shared she thinks more staffing is needed.

“I thought it would take a couple of years to establish that kind of business, when the truth of the matter is, people are excited to be down here and they want to partake in all of it,” she said. “People are more aware of Oklahoma City… and the heart, if you will, of the city is becoming healthy again. And what I’ve learned from my travels is if the downtown is alive and well, it seems to me the whole city is alive and well.”

Scaramucci speculated one year of growth in Bricktown might take four years elsewhere. And, she said, she is thankful for the experience of her southside location because it equipped her with the experiences and skill sets needed as a business owner to thrive, rather than buckle from fast growth.

“I just knew that this area held an abundance of possibilities and I’m well seasoned enough now at what I do, I’m willing to tackle that,” she said. “To say that this neighborhood is alive and well is just an understatement.”

The closing of her original location was unexpected, she admitted, but when her southside customers started driving north to Bricktown, she found herself competing for her own dollar. While it was an emotional decision, deciding to close the location was the necessary decision given the pattern of growth.

The Painted Door on South Western will close after today and the original Nonna’s closed earlier this month.

While Scaramucci’s southside customers were the first to move and then her Nonna’s employees, she said this week will see the move of her entire southside The Painted Door inventory and its employees to the Bricktown store.

“It’s moving in the purest sense, and it’s very unusual for a business to absorb all of the former employees of another location,” she said. “But these are people who have been with me for years, the bulk of them have been with me for many years.”

As any business owner knows, success is synonymous with risk, requiring long hours and dedication. But Scaramucci said a person also has to be willing to understand there will be bad news along with the good, which can be “a far riskier thing for your heart.”

“It used to hurt my feelings in that it was hard for me to let go of things. I would hash them and rehash them,” she said. “And the more people you have to trust to make a project come through, the more likelihood there is of a foul up. But nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

When it comes to achieving positive growth, “if you always take the safe position, it may be safe, but it never will be quite as fulfilling as just stepping out there and trying what you want to do and seeing it off the ground and making it work. And that’s really what I’m doing here.”

06-14-2005, 01:27 PM
I'd like to think so Patrick but I've been there too many times, I think she is fascade because she is in the spotlight so much, its not like she is going to ignore the problem. I'm glad downtown landed a restaurant of this caliber, just wish it was ran better

06-14-2005, 09:46 PM
I've been to Nona's in bricktown. The food was delicious. However, my party waited over 15 minutes after we had set down just to get our drinks ordered. I think it may have just been a misunderstanding between the servers. As a result my one hour lunch turned in to an hour and a half. I'm sure I'll go again though. Oh and I love the desserts!

06-15-2005, 11:28 AM
I've been to Nona's in bricktown. The food was delicious. However, my party waited over 15 minutes after we had set down just to get our drinks ordered. I think it may have just been a misunderstanding between the servers. As a result my one hour lunch turned in to an hour and a half. I'm sure I'll go again though. Oh and I love the desserts!

The slow service seems to be a trend I've heard a lot of people complain about. I hope Avis picks up on it eventually.

01-12-2014, 01:35 PM

11-19-2014, 12:54 PM
Don't have the full details, but they're closing at the end of the year.

11-19-2014, 12:58 PM
How do you know this?

If true, this is a major bummer.

11-19-2014, 01:00 PM
They are telling their employees today.

11-19-2014, 01:06 PM
Hopefully another operator steps in.

It's beautiful space and the outdoor patio is awesome.

11-19-2014, 01:10 PM
Hopefully another operator steps in.

It's beautiful space and the outdoor patio is awesome.


It will be sad to lose this place. I wonder if its closing because of not enough business or some other reason? It should be pretty easy to lease out especially with Tapstone moving in nearby soon. That should really increase the restaurant demand in Bricktown.

Roger S
11-19-2014, 01:37 PM
The owner is getting up there in years. She may have just decided to retire.

I know people that are friends with the owner so I've put out some feelers to see if they know the reason.

11-19-2014, 03:29 PM
It's a great space, but the food was mediocre.

11-19-2014, 05:05 PM
Just received this back from Nonna's:

Nonna’s is open and business is brisk. News about the future of Nonna’s is forthcoming. We look forward to sharing the news. All good!- Nonna’s Management

11-19-2014, 06:00 PM
Sounds like Avis is just retiring, and you know, good for her..

11-19-2014, 07:48 PM

It will be sad to lose this place. I wonder if its closing because of not enough business or some other reason? It should be pretty easy to lease out especially with Tapstone moving in nearby soon. That should really increase the restaurant demand in Bricktown.

Maybe the market for $50 frou frou salads finally dried up. #sarcasm

11-19-2014, 07:49 PM
I get the strong feeling they have another operator -- possibly a great one -- already lined up.

11-19-2014, 11:15 PM
What is Tapstone?

11-20-2014, 05:45 AM
What is Tapstone?

Tom Wards oil company. Going into the building behind spaghetti warehouse.

11-20-2014, 05:57 AM
Maybe the market for $50 frou frou salads finally dried up. #sarcasm

heh, heh, heh. (that's pretty much the impression i've had of the place). ^ like.

11-20-2014, 07:59 AM
Maybe the market for $50 frou frou salads finally dried up. #sarcasm

11-20-2014, 10:40 AM
I went there one time with my girlfriend (now wife) and it was SUPER expensive for 1) small portion 2) mediocre taste, nothing super special...never went back and don't plan to.

11-20-2014, 11:12 AM
For all of Bricktown's glory as the most complete entertainment district we have, there is not a single restaurant that you just absolutely have to go to. Hopefully this space will see something like that come to fruition.

11-20-2014, 11:21 AM
I have only been in Nonna's once, to have drinks at the behest of some older friends.

I remember thinking it was beautiful space but there was nothing about the experience that ever compelled me to return.

Given the prime corner and outdoor deck, this could easily become a very lively hub and that has never seemed to be the case.

11-20-2014, 11:26 AM
Seems I fall into the same category as everyone.. I have went once for dinner and it was a great setting however food was not memorable. the other time was to meet friends at the purple bar. company was great. the location was beautiful but just wasn't anything that brought me back again and again.
lets keep fingers crossed for something great in that space because its a great location and space.

11-20-2014, 11:41 AM
The vibe just seemed off to me; even though somewhat busy, the energy was very low.

It also seemed like it was too bright inside; more like a family restaurant. Even in the bar area.