Starting from Scratch
Dedication. Loyalty. Every day, just doing everything that I can for the customer.Yes, it’s about the food, but more importantly, it’s about the customer and giving them what they want.”
Making everything from scratch is a little uncommon in the average Folly Beach kitchen, but Anthony DiBernardo is convinced that four-year-old Rita’s Seaside Grille better serves the beachgoing public by taking the more difficult route of a “scratch kitchen” in a laid-back locale. “Work hard, and eventually you will get what’s coming to you.
Origins: South Philadelphia
Evolution: Growing up in South Philly, Anthony took an interest in becoming a chef at a young age, crediting his family and his Italian heritage as the impetus for entering the field. His military service on the Sturgeon-class attack submarine USS Batfish included cooking four meals a day for 130 sailors on board. He has been an executive chef at the prestigious Kiawah Island Resort, with Sal Parco’s Mustard Seed/Boulevard Diner/Sette group, and has become a partner at Rita’s on Folly Beach.
Culinary Passion: With the season on Folly in full swing? “The challenge, the volume. Trying to do the amount of covers that we do, and do them well.”
Passionate Distractions: His kids. Period. “I carry one to drum lessons, carry one to swim lessons. Definitely passionate distractions.”
HOW TO STAY GROUNDED: “I’m constantly going to TripAdvisor just reading the reviews, [because] it’s all about the food and the atmosphere.”
Favorite Italian Food To Make: Homemade gnocchi. It has remained unchanged over the years ...”I dare not touch it, because it may ruin the memory.”
Would it ever make an appearance at Rita’s? “It may, it may ... I’ve often toyed with the idea of an Italian night, in the winter when we’re slow, just to kinda spice things up a little bit.”.
Favorite Cooking Project Over The Summer: Anything over a live fire that requires constant tending overnight … with beer.”
The Invitation To Folly “It’s not as far as you’d think. That’s the biggest misconception, especially for my old clientele from Mt. Pleasant, it’s not as far as you’d think.”