FRESNO, Calif. -- If you're looking for Italian food, it's doesn't get much more authentic than Oggi Cosi Si Mangia.
Located in the heart of California's Central Valley, the restaurant's small but fervent following swears by its mouthwatering fare.
Its owner, Luigi 'Louis' Maglieri, says his family came from Molise, Italy, and every bite of every dish in the restaurant will transport you to his country.
"Our stuff is pretty traditional. My mom is a great cook and most of these are her recipes," he says.
Some of his customers' favorites are the Chicken Marsala and Chicken Piccata, served with a side of angel hair pasta, the Pan-seared Salmon with brown butter lemon caper sauce, and the Cavatelli Arrabbiata with spicy crumbled sausage with lean pork.
Oggi Cosi Si Mangia first opened in Fresno 16 years ago.
Maglieri said the name, pronounced 'Oh-jee', means 'Today, this is how to eat.'
Each dish is made fresh in-house, with the best possible ingredients, and Maglieri takes personal pride in the authenticity and flavor of his dishes.
"A fella told me once in the restaurant business - 'You make meatballs? I buy 'em!' I said, "If I have to buy meatballs, I don't belong in this business. A lot of restaurants try to streamline their business. We make everything to order here. May take a couple of extra minutes but it's fresh. I just don't want to serve something I'm not proud of myself," he says.
In the past 16 years, Maglieri has watched some customers grow up, some age - but all still retain their love for his food.
"The customers I have here are fantastic.... I don't really do this for the money anymore. I have a passion for this place and I consider the customers friends," he says.
This story and video is based on reporting by Dale Yurong.