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Maria Fundora at the restaurant. The eternal hostess. "I love being a restauranteur. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve people."

Featured Article

When Giving Gets Personal

Meet Maria Fundora, a home town heroine.

Casa Nouva is so much more than an Italian restaurant, it is the heart of an immigrant family whose dedication to their community drives their passion. Maria Fundora, restauranteur and the reluctant matriarch of the family, is an unstoppable force that unites her community around great food. “I find joy in my family,” says Maria, “and I love to serve my community.”

Casa Nuova is the OG of Italian eateries, it harkens us back to an era of old-world Italian restaurants and the quintessential Italian dinner table! From the moment you open the front door, you are embraced as a member of Maria’s extended family. It is an experience like no other.  

One cannot think about Casa Nuova without thinking about the incredible seasonable produce served in almost every dish during the summer and fall. Villa Sophia Farm is just around the corner from the restaurant, and is both the family home and working organic farm. No one could ever imagine that farm to table would ever be so geographically close as Villa Sophia is to Casa Nuova. “The farm provides organic produce to the restaurant, ensuring the freshest and finest ingredients are always being served to our guests,” says Maria. With over fourteen acres of garden in production, it is easy to imagine the volume of fresh, delicious, seasonal ingredients used daily in the recipes. “We give away surplus produce to our guests," exclaims Maria. “You could come in on any summer night and go home with a bag of tomatoes.”

Purple Pansies, a pancreatic cancer fundraiser, was created to both honor and celebrate the life of Maria’s mother, Iluminada Milian. Maria was inspired to help. “I held my first event as Purple Pansies in 2009," says Maria. “To date, we have raised over $5 million in support of curing pancreatic cancer." The mission of Purple Pansies is to give immediate support to families fighting pancreatic cancer, to grant annual scholarships to young adults, whose guardian or parents have been impacted, and to fund research and clinical trials to fight the disease. Maria’s charity efforts echo through her every move as she weaves through the restaurant; leaving a little bit of her heart with every guest, touching them with her benevolence and inspiring them through her actions and words. “I do my best to be a good role model for my children and my community,” says Maria.

For more information about Casa Nuova, Maria Fundora, and Purple Pansies please visit

  • Casa Nuova is tucked away in the corner of a strip mall in Alpharetta. It is worth finding.
  • One of the many tributes to Villa Sophia on the farm.
  • The summer planting is under way at Villa Sophia.
  • Here we grow again.
  • What's in your glass? An impressive wine list awaits!
  • Maria Fundora at the restaurant. The eternal hostess. "I love being a restauranteur. It’s an honor and a privilege to serve people."
  • Tomatoes, corn, zucchini, herbs, eggplant, peaches, apples, and figs are but a few of the organically grown produce that grace the tables at Casa Nuova.