Casa Di Lisa, a family restaurant and bistro in Feeding Hills, has been a dining highlight of the Pioneer Valley since the late 1970's. Its roots go back even further in time and thousands of miles away, in Italy. Lisa Bruno-Santaniello, the current owner of Casa Di Lisa, shares “The majority of our recipes have been handed down from previous generations within my family.” She continues, “Of course, we have added some items on the menu over the years, but we take pride in having our own recipes. In essence, we are sharing my family’s work with the world.”
Starting from humble beginnings more than 40 years ago, Lisa’s father, Francesco Bruno, opened a small pizza shop in Feeding Hills. Through the decades, they’ve expanded to around a 100-diner capacity facility. The portrait of Lisa that hangs just inside the restaurant's entrance, painted when she was a young girl, is a familiar symbol to regular customers. The main dining room, complete with a granite fireplace, creates a warm, welcoming atmosphere where patrons can enjoy a relaxing and comfortable dining experience. The addition of a bistro area provides the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail, a post-dinner cordial, or a glass or bottle of wine from their award-winning wine list. This cozy space is also available for private parties. Casa di Lisa also offers outside catering, accommodating parties from 10 to 50 guests for events such as bridal and baby showers, holiday celebrations, office luncheons, rehearsal dinners, and retirement parties.
Diners may choose from an array of appetizers, salads, pasta dishes, fresh seafood, and Italian specialties. The most popular dish on the cooked-to-order menu at Casa di Lisa is the Zuppa di Pesce, which is a variety of seafood served over linguine in a spicy red sauce. Other delectable dishes include grilled pork chops and beef marsala.
Lisa’s husband, Freddie Santaniello, has been the head chef there for seven years. Lisa says, “He had his own chef deal going on, but when the opportunity arose for him to work here with me and for me, we pounced at the opportunity. The [perk] of being a small business owner is getting to do it with my family. That’s the type of atmosphere we like to keep here at Casa di Lisa, family oriented but also a nice setting for a romantic date night.”
The restaurant took a ten-year hiatus, reopening in 2007, and Lisa intends to keep the restaurant going through the lingering effects of Covid-19. She shares, “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt us. There’s a national food and worker shortage, and the two of those directly intertwine into our business model. We will make it through this.” Lisa plans to be at the helm of this local favorite for the foreseeable future.