MUSKEGON, MI – Homemade Italian food is a labor of love at Teddy Spaghettis in Muskegon.
Owned by Ted Cerniglia and his daughter Francesca Giddings, Teddy Spaghettis serves authentic Italian food handcrafted from family recipes that date back nearly a century.
“It’s our way of sharing our family history. We just love to cook, so if we weren’t doing it in this capacity, we’d just be doing it at home,” said Giddings.
The Muskegon restaurant traces its history back to 1939 when Cerniglia’s grandparents opened a restaurant in Rockford, Illinois. Cerniglia branched out in 1986 when he opened the Pine-Apple Café on the corner of Pine Street and Apple Avenue in downtown Muskegon.
In 2009, Teddy Spaghettis opened at 3032 Heights Ravenna Road where customers can dine under an ivy-draped trellis in the Italian cafe style dining room.
It serves a robust menu of pastas, pizzas, calzones, salads and more with recipes stemming from family cookbooks embellished with handwritten notes and recipes handed down through generations.
“We just took all of that, learned and spent decades perfecting it,” said Cerniglia.
A staple dish of lasagna is layered with made-from-scratch meatballs, six cheeses and spaghetti sauce for $11.75.
Home of the toasted ravioli, Teddy Spaghettis serves stuffed ravioli tossed in breadcrumbs, deep fried and topped with sauce for $9.95 or a grande serving for $13.95.
“For me there’s nothing better than someone coming in, having a meal and, immediately, we get to see the fruits of our labor,” Cerniglia said.
Cerniglia says they offer “many signature items” but the Rage of Rome is unique to Muskegon County. A dish of penne noodles smothered in spicy vodka sauce can be tasted for $9.99.
“You can get vodka sauces, but you can’t get one like this,” said Cerniglia.
Giddings joined Teddy Spaghettis full-time after graduating from Aquinas College with a business degree three years ago. The youngest of five children, Giddings began washing dishes at the age of 10 and knew by sixth grade she wanted to run the restaurant.
“As Italians, we emote with food so everything we do is kind of around food. That’s what brings our family together,” she said.
Giddings tracked down archival photos of her family and displayed them throughout the restaurant to show the history behind the handcrafted dishes.
Cerniglia says the restaurant is about “more than food” by carrying on the family legacy.
“The people that came before us,” he said. “We’re proud to keep that tradition going and giving it to a community that responds to it.”
Teddy Spaghettis is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and closed on Sundays.
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