My mom’s favorite way to eat was the traditional Italian way. To her, that meant eating several small amounts of vegetables, some pasta, and usually a bean dish, too. She referred to meat and a vegetable or two as “Americana” or “Blue Plate,” and she never ate that way or fed us that way. And because I loved my mother’s kitchen so much, I follow that principal in my kitchens both at home and at Claire’s. So my side dish section is huge and it’s the way our customers like to eat, too.
Years ago, when I started to offer our entrees in appetizer portions, Frank thought I had lost my mind and was trying to put myself out of business. I reminded him that my mother was always right and that she had said, “Doing the right thing is always the best way to run your business.” I knew that people wanted smaller portions sometimes as a snack and sometimes as their meal. And it’s better to eat a little less than we often do, anyway. Luckily, my mom and I were right.