WORCESTER – There is nothing better than a restaurant where you feel at home. Whether you are Italian or not, you will feel like family when you’re at Chioda’s Trattoria in Worcester.

Owners Steven and Donna Chioda opened this spot over a decade ago. They asked their son Steven to take on the duties in the kitchen, which include making plate after plate of classic Italian comfort food. All of that old school Italian charm starts at the door, where you will usually find family matriarch Donna doing her thing.

“I am the old fashioned Italian mom,” she said. “Everybody that comes here, we want you to feel like you’re coming into my home. You’re having dinner with my family.”

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Back in the kitchen, the two Stevens are doing their best to make sure you will leave full and satisfied, with starters like the Baked Stuffed Mushrooms loaded with crabmeat and served with a sherry cream sauce; an Antipasto loaded up with sausage, provolone, roasted peppers, olives and mushrooms. For a spin on a caprese, there is the Neapolitan: a sensational stack up of all of your favorite Italian ingredients.

Neapolitan at Chioda’s Trattoria (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“It has the tomatoes. It has the fresh mozzarella. It has your basil. It has the portabella mushroom. Then we put a little bit of field greens on top. We drizzle it with a balsamic vinaigrette,” Donna described.

The must-order appetizer has to be Chioda’s Calamari.

“We sauté it lightly with breadcrumbs. We use fresh spinach, cherry peppers and sweet pepperdew,” Donna said. “You get a little bit of crunch from the calamari, and then that tang from the cherry peppers, and you get the sweetness from the pepperdews. It’s awesome.”

Calamari at Chioda’s Trattoria (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Of course, all of your red sauce favorites are represented on the entree section of the menu, because the gravy they use just happens to be an old family recipe.

“We were brought up with that gravy,” Donna said. “This is like, if you came to my home on Sunday, this is how we cook.”

There is everything from oversized bowls of Fruitti di Mare loaded up with shrimp, scallops, calamari and mussels, to one of the biggest squares of Lasagna you’ve ever seen, stacked seven layers tall. Big eaters will also enjoy the plate-tipping portion of Chicken parm, lightly breaded, pan seared and topped with cheese. For the indecisive, check out the massive plate known as The Taste of Italy.

“Taste of Italy is a little bit of everything,” Donna explained. “You get a meatball, a sausage, you get eggplant, you get a chicken parm, and a couple of stuffed shells.”

Taste of Italy at Chioda’s Trattoria (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Meat lovers will love the big selection of Italian style steaks and chops. The Veal Neapolitan stacks up veal cutlets, Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, roasted red peppers and mozzarella cheese, and the Steak Pizzaiola is a fan favorite, topped with onions, mushrooms, peppers and mozzarella cheese in a red sauce.

The real signature dish at Chioda’s is the porchetta. The rollup of deliciousness features a juicy pork loin stuffed with ham, salami, cappicola, provolone and Romano cheese.

“You get all the flavor from all the meats and the cheeses. It’s nice, it’s moist, juicy, and just full of flavor,” Donna said.

Porchetta at Chioda’s Trattoria (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

After all of those entrees, nothing caps off a meal quite like Chioda’s mocamisu, a twist on tiramisu made with chocolate.

“You must have this at the end of your meal,” Donna encouraged. “Very creamy. Melt in your mouth. I have to have this. It’s that good.”

No matter what you order at Chioda’s, you will definitely be back, because after spending some time with this charismatic family, you’ll want to visit again and again.

“You may walk in a customer, by the time you leave here you will be family,” Donna said. “We treat everybody here as family. We want to make everybody comfortable. We want you to be part of our family.”

You can find Chioda’s Trattoria at 631 Franklin Street in Worcester, and online at chiodastrattoria.com.

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