If you’ve dined in any one of Qui Qui Musarra’s trio of restaurants—Mangia Qui, Rubicon and Suba—you’re familiar with the classy, intimate atmosphere that comes with the experience at each.
But Musarra, along with partners Staci Basore and Elide Hower, wanted to try something different—something more casual.
In late April, they opened Streatery at the Broad Street Market in Midtown Harrisburg—returning to where the restaurateurs made their debut 20 years ago as “Pasta Art.”
“It’s an honor to be back in the market,” Musarra said. “The people that know us are as excited as we are.”
That rings true for long-time customer Sharon Webb, who loves Mangia Qui and has befriended the owners. Hower, who is running the operations at the market, is like family, she said.
“I’m always excited when they try something new because it’s always fabulous,” Webb said.
According to Musarra, opening a market stand was an idea the team tossed around for a few years. They wanted to reach a larger audience and bring their food to those who have yet to try it.
“It’s a way of showcasing some of our signature items at Mangia Qui to a broader audience who may not dine with us at the restaurant,” Musarra said.
The owners—and their restaurants—have gained quite the positive reputation over the nearly 25 years they’ve been in Harrisburg. But even with all of the success, Musarra said that opening Streatery was a challenge.
“You can have all the experience in the world, but once you step into something new, there is the unknown,” she said. “That makes it more exciting.”
COVID took a huge bite out of the restaurants’ finances, forcing them to limit their hours, eliminating lunch completely. With the Broad Street Market’s prime time being lunch, Musarra hopes the new location will fill a gap and allow lunchtime customers to get their Mangia Qui fix.
Patrons can still expect the fresh flavor they’re used to, with a more casual feel. At Streatery, chefs offer an ever-changing menu of internationally inspired dishes. There are sandwiches and salads with flavors from places like Italy and Brazil, stuffed with meatballs, chicken, pork belly, prosciutto and pickled eggs. They have meats like those from Suba and olives from Mangia Qui, Musarra said.
On a Thursday afternoon at lunchtime, Albert Boynton waited for his “Triple Play” sandwich, which contains meatballs, mozzarella and pomodoro. He had never eaten at Mangia Qui, but was excited to try Streatery’s food. In other words, he was just the audience the owners hoped to reach.
“I’m going to have to check out their restaurant after this,” he said.
With Musarra and the team’s spur-of-the-moment style of creating dishes, you never quite know what you’re going to get at Streatery.
“It’s easy, accessible food, but it looks good and tastes good,” Hower said.
She said that they hope eventually to hold food demonstrations, as well.
Even though you may be taking your food in a to-go box instead of sitting in Mangia Qui’s dining room, you can expect the same great presentation.
“Food is our art,” Musarra said. “We present it in a way that has a flair.”
Survive to Thrive
Coming full-circle back to where they first started is meaningful to Musarra. She’s built and grown her business over the years, expanding from one small stand at the Broad Street Market into three restaurants.
Not many businesses that outgrow the market return, she said, but she loves the vibe there.
“Why should we forget where we started?” she said. “It’s an exciting time for the market.”
Musarra saw how important takeout became during the pandemic, something they didn’t even really offer before. Street dining took off, too, with many restaurants, including Mangia Qui, expanding outside service.
This was the inspiration behind the name for the market stand—Streatery.
“It became a way to survive,” she said.
As the partners move forward with their newest venture, Musarra is hopeful. Things aren’t yet back to “normal” at Mangia Qui. But, as life keeps moving, Musarra and Hower will keep cooking.
“Coming out of COVID and doing something new is really uplifting,” Musarra said.
Streatery is located in the brick building of the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg.
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