By Abi Cole
Woodfin – Born to an Italian immigrant family in Queens, Marco Lacagnina’s family has been in the New York restaurant business since 1933. Growing up, Lacagnina, “Bounced around from Italian delis and Italian restaurants,” run by family members and friends. The heat and flavor of his uncle’s Harlem pizzeria inspired Lacagnina to open 828 Family Pizzeria, formerly known as Marco’s Pizzeria, in Asheville 36 years ago. Marco retired from the restaurant seven years ago, but the wildly successful Asheville spot is still in the family— it’s operated today by Lacagnina’s children and their mother.
“When I got out of the pizzeria seven years ago, I was just very tired. I didn’t think that I was going to get back into the restaurant business actually. But it drew me back in,” said Lacagnina.
For Lacagnina, food is a labor of love. Centreville Luncheonette, opened in late June in Woodfin, is a new family endeavor for the experienced Asheville restaurateur. The nostalgic factor and old-school deli menu are reminiscent of the classic luncheonettes Lacagnina used to frequent as a kid in New York.
The luncheonette’s exterior is traditional and unassuming, giving ‘passerbys’ the presumption that the months-old restaurant has just always been on that corner in Woodfin. But a step onto Centreville’s checkered linoleum floor is a leap back in time. Lanterns hang from the shiplap ceiling over a copper counter comprised of 17,000 pennies– each one hand pressed by Lacagnina and his grandchildren.
“I’ve always liked the idea of a neighborhood restaurant. I just wanted a simple little sandwich shop, kind of reminiscent of what used to be— go and get a sandwich and a soft drink in the neighborhood.”
Americana luncheonette staples with an Italian twist is what’s cooking at Centreville. Deli classics, like meatball subs, are perfected with an old family meatball recipe. Reubens are served fresh on locally made rye bread.
Lacagnina hand-picked the Woodfin area for it’s “up-and-coming” feel.
“There’s a community here that I think is hungry for something like this.”
Centreville Luncheonette is open daily from 11-3 at 204 Weaverville Rd in Woodfin.