Northern Italy Finds a Home in Kennett Square’s La Verona

With house-made pastas and hand-stretched pizzas, brothers Jack and Sam Mavraj channel the region’s traditional rustic cuisine masterfully.



Linguine ai Frutti di Mare, with shrimp, mussels, clams and calamari in a fresh tomato sauce. Photos by Steve Legato.

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The rustic cuisine of Verona, Italy—the setting for Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet—comes to the fore at the aptly named La Verona in Kennett Square. Chef Jack Mavraj and his younger brother, Sam, admirably adhere to the Veronese style at this popular eight-year-old restaurant and bar. They do so with the help of executive chef Gilles Moret, who deftly blends antipasti classics like tomato bruschetta and mussels marinara with such French staples as escargot, frogs’ legs and mushroom gratin.

Lunch is familiar but satisfying, and it’s best enjoyed in the front lounge, offering views of the action on State Street. Hand-stretched pizzas include the Abruzzi—rich with tomato sauce, fennel sausage, roasted artichoke crowns and oozing mozzarella. And the chicken Caesar and grilled salmon salads are among the staples. The menu also has some heavier sandwiches (meatball, crab cake and a house burger, plus pork and broccoli rabe) and some smaller versions of dinner plates.

Margarita pizza at La Verona in Kennett Square

A Margarita pizza. 

Tried-and-true dinner standards include chicken, veal or eggplant parmesan, chicken or veal marsala or piccata, broiled bronzino, New York Strip steak, and pan-seared scallops. The two chefs easily hit the mark with old-school classics like roasted duck and mushroom risotto. And the chewy mini ciabatta rolls are addictive.

Pappardelle Bolognese at La Verona in Kennett Square Roasted half duck with an orange Sambuca glaze over risotto and vegetables

Pappardelle Bolognese.

Roasted half duck with an orange Sambuca glaze
over risotto and vegetables.

La Verona’s house-made pastas are exemplary—in particular, the spinach-and-mushroom ravioli with sun-dried tomato pesto. The impossibly thin, perfectly cooked pasta gently cocoons a light dollop of ricotta and parmesan cheese.

A colorful summer salad at La Verona in Kennett Square.

A colorful summer salad.

Among the uniformly excellent dolce finales are a three-gelato spumoni chocolate bomba and a tiramisu-and-chocolate-coated cannoli. The compact bar menu offers braised short rib mini sliders, fries with bacon and melted cheddar cheese, burgers, wings, and other approachable fare. You’ll also find a balanced variety of wines and a solid selection of whiskies and scotches.

La Verona Kennett Square owners and chefs

(from left) co-owner Sam Mavraj, executive chef Gilles Moret and chef Jack Mavraj.

With its wood veneer, gleaming brass rail and carved fauna frieze overhead, the bar is a comfortable spot, its atmosphere complementing the back section of the restaurant, with its intimate gas fireplace and strikingly backlit stained-glass arch. The spacious 120-seat main dining room is, in a word, austere.

La Verona has found a niche and is sticking to it. That consistency bodes well for the restaurant as downtown Kennett Square continues to evolve.

114 State St., Kennett Square, (610) 444-2244, www.laveronapa.com.

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