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This Month's Krier
A Little Bit of Italy Here in Killingworth
La Foresta
By Fiona Phelan
La Foresta is open for your wining and dining pleasure. For the past several months, Killingworth residents have watched eagerly as the 4,700-square-foot building on the corner of Killingworth Turnpike and Stevens Road was transformed into an Italian restaurant and wine bar.

La Foresta boasts a rustic chic décor and incorporates a main dining room with seating available on the first floor or mezzanine, a bar seating close to 30 people with surrounding high top tables and a wine room for exclusive parties and events. The wine bar proffers over 25 wines by the glass. La Foresta also has over 185 bottles of red and white wines from around the world.

The layout of the building needed a complete remodeling in order to create the proper flow from room to room and enough intimate spaces for people to enjoy their dining experience, notes owner Francesco Lulaj.
v A town resident with his wife Cassandra for the past five years, Lulaj has incorporated the names of his three young boys - Sebastian (5), Aleksander (2) and Maksimilian (1) - throughout the restaurant, whether its foods named after them or wines that have their names in them.

Albanian by birth, Lulaj moved to Italy in his early 20s where he developed his passion for food and wine. He then relocated to New York where he worked in some of Manhattan's most renowned restaurants.

"After gaining much experience and confidence in the industry, I decided it was time to venture off on my own," says Lulaj. He became the owner of Adriana's Restaurant in New Haven, where he met his wife.

"I tried to keep the interior here as authentic as possible to the restaurants I worked at in Italy by refurbishing much of the existing wood in the building," he states. The restaurant name was chosen both for its location amongst the trees and in celebration of the first restaurant he worked at in Italy.

"It was at this restaurant that the owner took me under his wing and mentored me in all aspects of the business," Lulaj recalls. "After moving to Killingworth I have fallen in love with this town and the close knit community," he adds. "However, I felt like it was missing a place for friends and family to gather for not just a quick meal or dinner. I wanted to create a place for dinner parties and special occasions such as baptisms, anniversaries, milestone birthdays as well as corporate events."

Food is prepared by Executive chef Joseph Vitti, a Clinton resident, who was most recently executive Chef at Avon Country Club an also at Water's Edge for more than 17 years.

To view the restaurant menu and wine bar offerings, visit www.laforestarestaurant.com. For reservations, call (860) 663-1155. "I look forward to making La Foresta a favorite place and that you enjoy your time here," said Lulaj. "Welcome."

Photos courtesy of Tim Gannon