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An Ideal Life

An Ideal Spaghetti Sauce

The Marino Sisters Take on Omaha’s Finest Italian Eateries
An Ideal Spaghetti Sauce
Published on April 4, 2013 : 7 comments

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There are two kinds of people in this world—Italians, and those who wanna be.” At least that’s how the saying goes, and obviously started by a very proud Italian!

But the truth is the older I get the more I appreciate who I am and my Italian heritage. My sisters and I (and our brother Carl) are a dying breed of full-blooded Italians in Omaha. We are third generation Italians beginning with our great-uncle Antonino, who settled in Omaha around 1910, in the historic Hotel Howard, presently known as Mr. Toads. Other siblings joined later including our grandfather; and all went on to establish their own businesses, mainly grocery stores and shoe shops. But my sisters and I always wished our family had gone into the restaurant business.

From time to time, we even dreamed of the four of us establishing our own Italian eatery. After all, we had possession of the best recipe for spaghetti sauce from our mother. But none of us wanted to work that hard! To us, the only one who could match our mother’s spaghetti sauce was our own “cuz” Joe Marino, owner of the Marino Deli, an iconic restaurant for many years on Center Street.

My sister Connie is the only one who has tried bottling our mother’s sauce, making it primarily with sausage. Carol makes it with spare ribs, while I like to flavor the sauce with jumbo meatballs. Our mother made it with all three, and our sister Cathy follows that tradition. On occasion growing up, I’d also seen my mother’s sauce simmering all day with tender fall-off-the- bone oxtails.

So instead of starting our own restaurant or trying to sell bottles of sauce out of our kitchens, we decided we would take on the finest of Omaha’s Italian restaurants and compare it to our own mother’s pot of gold. We’d like to see if we can find anyone who can come close to this authentic brew.

So the contest begins! We plan to visit within the next several months the best Omaha has to offer. We’ve decided to test our mother’s sauce with only the best. This April the first restaurant on our A-list will be the famous: Lo Sole Mio’s. Other well-known restaurants we plan to visit are: Vivace’s, Amore, Spezia, Nicole’s, Vincenzo’s and Mangia Italiana.

Now that’s… “An Ideal Life.”

If any readers would like us to visit their favorite Italian restaurant or if you own an Italian restaurant let us know by leaving a comment.

ChristineLindChristine Lind writes about downtown Omaha and makes the best biscotti cookie in town.


Mary Distefano (not verified) says:

April 5, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

Mary Distefano's picture

Well, Chris, what you write is so true. I appreciate my heritage more and more and I am passing on as much as I can. The places you are going to visit sound so good. You are fun gals! Love you , ‘ Cuz.

shelli german (not verified) says:

April 5, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

shelli german's picture

Well.. I am not Italian but LOVE Italian food. I don’t usually order Spaghetti sauce out because I think I make the best. I do not like a sweet sauce. I use fresh tomatoes, garlic, and basil from my garden. For my meatballs, I use the Original Sons Of Italy recipe. It is so awesome!

Sheila Marino Rowley (not verified) says:

April 6, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

Sheila Marino Rowley's picture

Hi Christine…A wonderful article. Your Mom is shinning down upon all of you. Bon’appetit. Love, Sheila Marino Rowley

ChristineLind says:

April 6, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

ChristineLind's picture

Hello Mary Beth,
Love you too, stay tuned - we will be back with our first adventure with pictures!

ChristineLind says:

April 6, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

ChristineLind's picture

Dear Shelli,

I’m not familiar with the Sons of Italy sauce. Maybe the Marino sisters need to go check it out! Our mother’s sauce is not sweet either, although I did see her put a pinch of sugar in. She always told me in order to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes, you have to put in a pinch of sugar. I put in about a tablespoon (it’s a large amount of sauce!)to be sure, but I’m Italian and I never measure. Your sauce sounds divine with fresh herbs and tomatoes.

Please check back, we plan to visit our first restaurant this month!

ChristineLind says:

April 6, 2013 : 11 years 15 weeks ago

ChristineLind's picture

Thank you, I’m so glad you enjoyed the article! Knowing my mom, she’s just happy that we are all still living in Omaha and able to be together! Making her sauce keeps her with us now that she’s gone.

Connie Marino Yates (not verified) says:

May 9, 2013 : 11 years 10 weeks ago

Connie Marino Yates's picture

Christine! Mom never put sugar in her sauce!!!

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