Stratford restaurant owners bring Italian flavor to Milford

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MILFORD — Stratford restaurateurs have brought a taste of Italy to Bridgeport Avenue.

Alex and Phyllis Gjeka, who are the restaurant’s general manager and owner of La Fortuna in Stratford, respectively, spent Tuesday celebrating the opening of their new location – Il Capriccio Ristorante E Bar – in space at 1015 Bridgeport Ave.

“It’s another exciting day when we can open a new business,” said Simon McDonald of the Milford Chamber of Commerce at the opening event.

“Wishing you all the best, and this place looks great,” added Milford Mayor Ben Blake. “When you walk into this place it’s like being transported to Italy or somewhere you want to go.”

Alex Gjeka said he opened his restaurant in Stratford in 2019, just before the pandemic. He said a cousin of his who owns two establishments in New Haven convinced them to go into the restaurant business.

Gjeka said Phyllis has extensive experience in Italian cuisine as she worked in the restaurant industry in Rome for almost two decades.

“Phyllis and one of her cousins ​​immigrated to Rome after fleeing Albania, and that’s where they learned to cook for 18 years,” Gjeka said.

When they came to the United States, they were able to pursue their passion for cooking by opening La Fortuna.

Gjeka said many of their customers come from Milford and Orange, and one of the main requests they received was to open a restaurant in Milford.

“Customer demand was one of the reasons we decided to open in Milford,” he added.

Il Capriccio Ristorante E Bar, according to Gjeka, is truly a “family business.

“Me and my wife and three kids all work here,” he said.

During the 2021 pandemic, the Gjekas said they had acquired the lease of their location in Milford.

“I am a contractor by trade and have started renovating the interior and exterior,” said Alex Gjeka. “We made the patio from scratch and made sure to make it an all-weather patio, so we could open it up during the winter.”

At La Fortuna, Gjeka said the food is strictly Italian, but at Il Capriccio Ristorante E Bar it’s both Italian and Latin.

“As you see on the menu, we have Italian entrees and starters, but we also have tacos, nachos and quesadillas. This is what our customers ask us to add to the menu,” he said.

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