The idea for Salumi E Formaggi took shape in Camassa and Maio’s minds in May of 2017. Just a short six months later, their vision came to fruition when the restaurant opened December 1, 2017.
The partners originally came to Miami from Italy, where they lived for six years, running a catering business called Two Italian Boys. After driving through the Beaufort area, they saw a great need for a good Italian restaurant with exceptional service.
Both Camassa and Maio, who also serves as the executive chef, place a great emphasis on family. This theme is woven into every aspect of their restaurant and is demonstrated through the menus with printed black and white photos of their own families back in Italy. Candid shots of their mothers and fathers eating and drinking, enjoying the community they have.
The recipes used are straight from home and have been passed down through the generations. They even had a four-day stretch when their own mothers came to visit and took over the role of chef in Salumi E Formaggi, serving eager patrons in a packed out restaurant each and every night.
“Whatever you see on the menu, the recipe has come from my grandmother and my mother. And I give it to our customers,” Maio said.
Camassa and Maio seek to bring exceptional service in addition to exceptional food. They believe that quality service is of equal importance to quality food and strive to make each customer’s experience the best. Their website boasts that their focus is on providing traditionally flavored Italian cuisine with a European style of service, meaning multiple courses and a relaxing atmosphere for patrons to eat and enjoy the fellowship around their table.
“From when they walk into the door, we want them to have a 100 percent excellent experience of the restaurant. We want them to be greeted and welcomed and have great food,” said Camassa.
With an emphasis on excellent service, they certainly haven’t neglected the importance of the food. They seek to take customers on a journey through each dish they encounter making every visit to Salumi and Formaggi an experience unlike any other.
Ingredients are the freshest they can find. Meats are sourced locally through farms and the highest quality seafood is purchased through Sea Eagle Market right here in Beaufort. For other ingredients such as cheeses, they go right to the source and get it all imported from Italy to ensure the authenticity of their dishes.
The menu is concise offering an array of Italian dishes. To keep things fresh, Maio changes the menu multiple times a year to ensure that seasonal ingredients are being used.
“We change the menu three or four times every year to give to people a different experience. For the winter, for the spring and for the summer,” said Maio.
Camassa and Maio shared that a majority of their patrons are local to Beaufort and surrounding areas. Word of mouth has spread favorably for the restaurant and customers are driving from as far as Charleston to partake in the Italian experience that is offered.
“Ninety percent of our customers live here. Many drive from Savannah, Bluffton, Callawassie Island, Oldfield, even Hilton Head. They hear about it from friends. They are starving for good food. They come here once and spread the word. We were open for barely two months and we had people coming from Charleston that heard about us,” said Camassa.
The moderately priced menu ranges from $8 starters up to $25 dishes like the vitello piccata, which is veal, capers and artichokes in a wine reduction. There is something for everyone with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options available upon request.
Salumi and Formaggi is open for dinner daily from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., closed Wednesdays, and a happy hour on Monday and Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. boasting their signature cocktails like the highly-loved ricotta cannoli espresso martini. On Sundays they host a brunch from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. that has become quite popular with everything from biscuits and gravy to a breakfast pizza.
The experience isn’t limited inside the four walls of Salumi and Formaggi as the restaurant offers catering as well, bringing an authentic Italian experience directly to your event.
On October 31st, Salumi E Formaggi is hosting a Halloween event where gourmet meets music and fun. There will be two seatings for a three-course Italian dinner followed by an after-dinner party with Jesse Gavigan, resident DJ of Beaufort.
The first seating at 5 p.m. is $59 for the three-course dinner from a set menu by Chef Salvatore Eros Maio. The 7 p.m. seating is $79 for the three-course dinner and includes entrance to the after-dinner party where attendees are encouraged to wear costumes for a contest in which the winner for best costume will receive a $100 gift card to Salumi E Formaggi. The party will be from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and tickets will be available for $10 presale and $15 at the door. The bar will be open through 1 a.m. serving the restaurants signature drinks.
The three-course dinner stays on track with the seasonal theme starting with a pumpkin fonduta followed by the choice of homemade fontina ravioli with butter sage reduction and red raisin emulsions or prime braised beef shoulder served with sweet mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetable flowers or wild seared grouper served with organic figs velluata and the meal is ended with homemade chantilly cream pumpkin millefoglie which is an Italian dessert.
Salumi E Formaggi may be less than a year old, but is quickly becoming an irreplaceable staple of our lowcountry community. For reservations or to purchase tickets for the Halloween event call 843-846-0411.