In the Kitchen with Mauro Querio of Mangiabevi Urban Italian
MAURO QUERIO is a force of nature. His energy level fuels his passion: for cooking, hospitality, teaching and training. The chef and co-owner of Mangiabevi Urban Italian restaurant— mangia bevi means “eat drink” in Italian—lets his dynamic style flow through the bustling Sterling Heights eatery.
“I’ve loved cooking for as long as I can remember.”
Growing up in the village of Monfalcone in Friuli Venezia Giulia in northeast Italy, Querio was culinarily inspired by his mother. “She instilled in me a sense of taste and smell that runs through my veins. It’s as natural to me as breathing. I’ve loved cooking for as long as I can remember.”
Owning his own restaurant was Querio’s dream for many years. He’s worked in pizzerias, sandwich shops, and has assisted in opening more than 20 restaurants. Hospitality—the whole lifestyle—is in his blood, he says. It was important to him to bring that to Mangiabevi.
“We do more than assemble a dish; we actually cook. The goal is to produce a product no one else has and to teach my team how to continually improve each and every day,” says Querio. They also work to teach their customers “what real Italian food is, not the stuff that is served in some chains that doesn’t even come close to what is served in Italy. Sometimes we even have to say no to a customer.”
To open Mangiabevi in February 2021, Querio and his longtime friend and business partner Stefano Pecoraro assembled a team of friends and coworkers from previous positions both held in the industry.
“We’re truly a team here: We work very hard, but we work smart,” he says, adding that they also have fun. “Everything on the menu is cooked here using the best seasonal ingredients I can find. Whenever possible we feature local ingredients. When the best [ingredients] are from Italy, that’s what we use.”
The wheels of Parmigiano-Reggiano used for the tableside preparation of spaghetti carbonara (it’s not on the menu, just ask) are imported from Italy, as is the olive oil served with warm bread as you’re seated at your table. To keep the food current and his “knife sharp,” as Querio puts it, he and Pecoraro travel to Italy for food shows and recently explored Sicily, where Pecoraro has a home.
Mangiabevi is not your typical Italian restaurant. You won’t find chicken parmesan, fettucine Alfredo or spaghetti with meatballs on the menu. You will discover a seasonal menu ranging from razor clams to flounder to dover sole to osso buco. Weekly specials are seasonal. Expect rabbit in springtime, zucchini flowers or grilled whole branzino in summer, wild game in the fall and heartier braised dishes in winter.
Querio’s energy runs deep. The avid marathoner has participated in over 12 Ironman triathlete competitions and frequently commutes by bicycle to and from his home in St. Clair Shores. He also recently appeared as a contestant on the Food Network show “Superchef Grudge Match,” where he competed against another local chef, Gabriella Rodriguez-Baldwin, of Macomb Township’s Testa Barrá.
It all works toward Querio’s mission to be a “timeless, modern, hip and friendly place. We want to be your go-to favorite restaurant for a weekday dinner or special occasion.”
Mangiabevi Urban Italian
35215 Dodge Park Rd., Sterling Heights;
Michael Schafer likes to say he “edu-tains” about wine and spirits. Find him at TheWineCounselor.com.