The Makings for the Perfect Meal BY RISA WILLIAMS MCMILLAN
PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN
It’s a concept.
It involves friendship and family -- Bringing people together to share good food and good times.
It’s a recipe.
The ingredients are simple and fresh and the result is delicious.
It is also a tradition.
An Italian one born in Naples.
MidiCi Italian Kitchen has been open on the Island for less than a year, but already has the makings for the perfect meal. At MidiCi, it is about more than great food and fresh ingredients –it is about feeling welcome, being part of a greater family that welcomes you with open arms. It is a place where you go for a good meal, but leave with new friends. It is a place that embraces you and makes your experience the best it can be. The restaurant is full of quotes on the walls, but the one that greets you on the mirror in the bathroom says: “You are the best thing that can happen to anyone.” At MidiCi, it is all about you. MidiCi loosely translated means “You tell me” in Italian. According to Luke Saleeby, owner of the restaurant with his wife Alison, “You tell me what you want and we’ll make it happen. Feel welcome, enjoy your food, and leave with a smile on your face.” Alison added: “We are about personal touch. We like greeting the tables and making an impression. We are not a food factory. We want people to come and stay. We are about family and connections.” The Saleeby’s road to owning a restaurant is an interesting one. They met while studying for their masters at USC and both went to work in corporate for The Home Depot in Atlanta – Alison in finance and Luke in merchandising. Hilton Head became their go-to family vacation destination and they eventually purchased a home here. After a brief move to Oregon for a job opportunity and to show their three children a new landscape, they squared off with some health scares and Alison decided to hang up her corporate suits. Faced with a decision about their future, the couple started looking at options that they thought their children would like. What better than a pizza restaurant in paradise, especially one that focused on all fresh ingredients and not preservatives? When you enter MidiCi, you immediately feel part of a vibrant, open atmosphere where there are no walls or barriers. 16
“It is very social here. It is open so everyone knows everyone. It’s a good vibe,” explained Luke. The kitchen area is called the heart – the beating focal point of the restaurant – which is open and visible from all tables. The heart is home to the bar, kitchen, and sparkling gold pizza oven – the center of the heart and source of all MidiCi pizza ‘wonderfulness’. The oven, crafted by hand by the Acunto Family in Naples, weighs about 4 tons. It
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