New Owner Enhances Tradition At Zuppa Del Giorno
The last time Chef’s Table visited Zuppa Del Giorno, in 2012, then chef-owner Joseph F. Caputo shared his love of using family recipes to present hearty lunches.
When Caputo decided to retire a few years back, he handed the business over to his longtime trusted friend, Joe Musheno, who worked for him off-and-on over a decade.
Since 2015, Musheno has stepped up to carry on the tradition of offering several fresh “soups of the day” while also adding breakfasts and new lunches to the menu.
Learning the secrets to Caputo’s long-standing soups wasn’t so easy, but Musheno made sure to keep the fan favorites around.
“Joe gave me 10 recipes, but a lot was in his head, so it was difficult to get him to write it down,” Musheno said with a laugh. “It took some tweaking to find the exact recipe.”
A Scranton Preparatory School graduate, Musheno originally wanted to be a teacher but became interested in the hospitality industry after he started working at a hotel. His career has included stints as a food and beverage manager at a San Diego airport as well as assistant district director of the Northeast Region of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, where he oversaw diverse visitor/rest areas on the busy route.
When Musheno moved back to his hometown for a new start after his employer downsized, he reached out to Caputo, who helped him with some catering jobs and day shifts at Zuppa Del Giorno. Musheno always imagined having his own little place, though, so when Caputo approached him with the opportunity to take over, Musheno saw the potential to fulfill this lifelong dream.
He kept the name and location and looked for ways to enhance the menu to put his own spin on it.
“I definitely kept the core to keep people coming back, but I added a little more,” Musheno said. “My thing is, I want something for everyone coming in, from the students (next door at Fortis Institute) to the doctors’ offices nearby.”
Now, Zuppa Del Giorno boasts about 32 rotating soups that are “traditional but also new and fun,” Musheno described. The first week of the month, he always offers Stuffed Pepper Soup, while the second week is his most-requested Thai Coconut Chicken recipe. Other standouts include the Tuscan Sausage and Lentil soups.
On the breakfast side, he offers everything from oatmeal to French Toast Sticks to a crustless quiche (“a fun, gluten-free option,” he said).
For lunch, customers rave about the Joseph Specialty Salad (spring mix with dried cranberries, blue cheese and butter-toasted walnuts with a signature orange vinaigrette dressing) or the Nicoise (Albacore white-meat tuna with green beans, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs and French potato salad served over greens with the house signature dressing). The Harry’s Bar Sandwich Di Pollo combines grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, Provolone cheese and balsamic-marinated portobello mushrooms plus baby spinach and basil pesto on ciabatta, and the Mediterranean Burger, which is like a gyro burger, are very popular, too. Guests also love the Salad with Warm Goat Cheese, Musheno added.
With seating for about 20 inside (and seasonal outdoor dining) plus local art on the walls, Zuppa Del Giorno maintains its cozy feel, though the food can be parlayed for off-site catering. Limited local delivery also is available, and Musheno supplies some of his food to Scanton coffeehouse Adezzo.
His deli case features numerous grab-and-go options, so there’s always a convenient way to enjoy the food from Zuppa Del Giorno. Musheno loves serving the people who come through his doors, and he is happy to offer his chef’s recommendation.
“My personal favorite is the Parmesan Pesto Ham Panini,” he shared.
Contact the writer:
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Address: 517 Ash St., Suite 500, Scranton
Owner: Joe Musheno
Established: 2006 (Musheno took over in 2015)
Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cuisine: Italian-American breakfasts and lunches
Online: Follow the restaurant’s pages on Facebook and Instagram (@zuppadg).