Tucked away along Taumeasina drive is a gem that has given people a delightful surprise once discovered.
This is the most common reaction by customers who happen to step through the doors of Taumeasina Restaurant, according to owners William and Losa Norrito.
The couple opened the eating place around Christmas last year.
“It happens all the time,” laughs Mrs. Norrito.
“We had a group who came in last week on a Saturday who were driving past and wondered what this place was about. When they came through from the front to the back here, which is the main area of the restaurant, they were amazed and said to me ‘how do we not even know about this place’?”
It’s easy to see why inquisitive souls might wander into a seemingly ordinary looking eatery from the outside only to walk into the Taumeasina Restaurant and be amazed at the open plan seating area built on a large sheltered deck overlooking great views of the ocean and the Taumeasina Island Resort.
They say that location is everything and for Mr. and Mrs. Norrito, it is why their initial plans of having a small café to keep them occupied during their semiretirement, turned into a much bigger venture than anticipated.
The couple relocated here from Australia to look after Mrs. Norrito’s mother.
“We were planning on opening a small café where William and I would be selling just coffee and cakes and things. I came back to Samoa by myself to look after my mother, but we changed it into this after I sought out a local who designed this place and our only condition was that it would suit this space and he did.”
“The designer utilised the whole space, it had a Samoan feel to it with an open fale style but it also had a modern look. We were really happy with it, it’s beautiful.”
Finding that they had stumbled on something much bigger, the couple got stuck right in.
For Mr. Norrito, who is Sicilian, it was a chance to live out a long time passion of his and the Italian inspired menu is driven by William’s love for cooking pasta dishes.
“William has got a passion for food. Not me, I enjoy it and in fact I never cooked when I was younger because of the Samoan way of the boys making the food until I got married and had to learn how to cook for my family. William loves making pasta, he loves cooking. He also eats a lot, but now he’s on a diet,” she laughs.
Aside from the fresh seafood and pasta dishes, one unique and popular feature about Taumeasina Restaurant is the owners themselves.
The couple takes hosting to another level by adding a personal touch to their customers dining experience. For the couple, it’s important that they connect with their customers and make them feel special.
“I know just about every person who comes here, it doesn’t matter who you are,” said Mrs. Norrito.
“We always go and introduce ourselves and have a chat to our customers and it’s amazing, people feel really good that we come out and talk to them.”
“Some people have told us that they have been to places where it’s very impersonal and I really am surprised. Here, it’s so homely and we want to make everyone feel special and of course people return and we have chats and get to know each other’s backgrounds.”
“People are curious about our background and we find it’s such a small world and there’s always a common connection in there somewhere. We’ve had two lots of Italians and they were so happy to chat in Italian with William and one couple we actually drove them to the airport and just little things like that make them feel special. We want to make a positive difference to people’s experience here in Samoa.”