The newest member of the Federal Restaurant family, POSTO, just celebrated its first birthday. Located in the Longmeadow Shops in Massachusetts, POSTO is a “modern Italian restaurant and bar with its roots in classic Italian and Italian American food,” according to co-owner Ralph Santaniello. “POSTO is casual enough to take the kids to after soccer practice, but also upscale enough for date night,” he continued.
The menu, carried out by Chef Jun Won Jang, offers a wide array of delicious choices, ranging from truffled popcorn, to the Federal’s famous risotto balls, to salads and sandwiches, pastas, and entrees. Baked in a brick oven, their pizzas are a very popular choice. Try the “salad pizza,” with arugula, pesto, garlic, tomatoes, burrata and shaved parmesan cheese, finished with aged balsamic vinegar. Or try a simple margherita pie, with tomato, mozzarella, and basil, which is a favorite of Andres Gomez, manager of POSTO. “When I try to take one home after work,” he says, “it usually doesn’t even make it that far before I’ve eaten most of it!”
Entrees include “dressed up” versions of eggplant and chicken parmesan, grilled tuna, hanger steak and chicken. Hungry and in the mood for something rich and delicious? Order the pork chop saltimbocca, which features a large chop prepared with prosciutto, fontina cheese, English peas, Cipollini onions, and sage. Get a serving of vegetables in the decadent fresh corn polenta or the fried Brussel sprouts. Check out the full menu on-line.
As far as beverages go, beer (bottles, cans and micro-brew drafts,) wine (over 30 varieties,) and cocktails, including several non-alcoholic choices, are available. As the food items on the menu change, so do the specialty cocktails available. You can even order a special hot toddy to share with the table during these colder months!
POSTO’S indoor seating is in accordance with current COVID regulations, meaning tables spaced 6 feet apart, or separated by a barrier. Throughout the pandemic, the restaurant has survived mostly on take-out orders, with curbside pick-up and some delivery available. Outdoor seating over the summer was possible on the outdoor patio or under the tent set up in the parking lot. Gomez noted that the “local support we’ve gotten has been absolutely amazing.” A lot of the customer base was already familiar with the Federal Restaurant in nearby Agawam, which has been delighting diners with its upscale cuisine for 18 years. The Federal, started in 2002 by Ralph Santaniello, his sister Cristina, and her husband Michael Presnal, was designed to be “one of the premier fine dining restaurants in the area,” according to Santaniello. “It is a white tablecloth restaurant that features a unique new American menu with strong classic French and Italian influences. My partner and Executive Chef Michael has a very unique take on new American, and I think it shows in our menus over the years.”
Santaniello adds that their establishment, Vinted Wine Bar and Kitchen in West Hartford, Connecticut “is a destination for wine lovers in the area since 2012. It has a selection of over 70 wines by the glass, a great craft cocktail program, and an extensive craft beer selection, as well as a creative gastro pub menu.”
With regards to the opening of POSTO, both families live in East Longmeadow, and with busy family and work schedules, Santaniello said that “we honestly just wanted to create a unique Italian concept that we could go to close to home.” Gomez also noted the favorable relationship between the restaurant owners and the management company of the Longmeadow Shops, saying that they had long wanted to work together. When the opportunity arose and space became available (POSTO is located where Bertucci’s Restaurant used to be) they took it and opened their third establishment. “The whole family helps out in different ways,” reports Santaniello. “It’s a true family business.”
When asked what the family’s favorite foods are from the menu at POSTO, they had different answers…Ralph loves the pizza, Michael favors the cavatelli pasta, and Cristina chose the chicken parmesan.
Speaking of dealing with COVID-19 issues, Santaniello says, “navigating the regulations and the huge loss of revenue (30-60%) are pretty much the challenges all small business owners face. Most of all uncertainty… we have worked extremely hard over the last 20 years to build a business and this is by far the most challenging time. This business is all we have. It is all we have worked for. So much of it is out of our control. It leads to many sleepless nights. I worry about my family’s future as well as all of my staff - close to 100 full and part time employees between the three restaurants.”
In spite of that, Santaniello spoke for the group in saying that what keeps them going, and what they enjoy most, is that they love the people…the guests and the employees. “It’s a new challenge every day,” he says. “And I think we all love good food and wine!”
POSTO IS LOCATED AT THE LONGMEADOW SHOPS
674 BLISS ROAD IN LONGMEADOW, MA
Postoitalian.com • 413-935-8500