By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Before Another Plate? was placed above the building at 6353 Navy Road, several Millington residents had a question for its new owner.
For almost two years international chef Elio Aguila remained a part of the community he had grown to love after the restaruant Neigborhood Bistro closed. His signature Italian dishes and sauces were missed by his loyal customers.
Now with the grand opening of Elio’s Another Plate? residents across the Mid-South have a chance to revisit the kitchen of Agulia. Last Wednesday Agulia and his wife of nearly two years Angie opened finally opened the doors to their restaruant with more than 60 invited guest showing up.
“I feel relieved, definitely we were under the gun,” Elio acknowledged. “It moved very quickly. I’m finally relieved we got to the point to were we can open up the signs. We are so excited. For us we love Millington. First we love the Lord then we love Millington.
“This is for them,” he continued. “When we closed Neighborhood Bistro, there was a void for this type of restaruant. No matter where I went in town I was approached, ‘Elio we miss your restaruant. When are you going to open?’ Finally I got the hint we needed to do something.”
With the help of Charles Ennis and Larry Jackson, Agulia was about to reach a deal to purchase the space to bring back his calentary treats. Then Elio and his wife were assisted by Pat Ennis and Francie Jackson with decoration.
Agulia said he is so grateful for all their help and now has a place that is welcoming to all.
“I love the location,” he said. “I’m hoping to bring a good, quality atmosphere around here. You can see by the décor we’re very Chrisitian. Everyone is welcomed here. We just want to bring a positive business to the area.
“We’re sure everyone needs it,” Agulia added. “We hope to walk and people see from our example a lot of hard work. We have been here around the clock for two weeks. And with a lot of hard work we hope to show the community, especially around here, that they are a part of Millington. We’re on that county line.”
Located on Navy Road about a mile away from the intersection near Millington Elementary, Agulia is hoping the Naval community, parents and surrounding residents will join the customer base he developed over time at the Neighborhood Bistro. Millington Area Chamber of Commerce President Charles Gulotta said Another Plate? Has the potential of becoming a destination restaruant in the Mid-South like a Vinegar Jim’s in Arlington or Gus’ Chicken in Mason. Agulia’s menu will feature dishes like Meat Loaf Cosa Nostra, Chicken Parmesan over Spaghetti, Lasagna Bolognese and Chicken Alfredo over Fettuccini. Along with Italian dishes, Another Plate? will feature Southern favorites like Fried Catfish and Hushpuppies, burgers and Ice Tea.
With his background of working across the United States from Miami to New York City, Agulia said he can prepare meals of French and Asian origin as well.
Agulia said he is ready to be a more visable part of the Millington community. After the Bistro closed, Agulia and his wife went into the catering business.
With the success of the catering, Another Plate? will also feature it as an option for customers. Another Plate? will deliver anywhere in Shelby and Tipton counties.
No deliveries were needed for the ribbon cutting event hosted by the Millington Area Chamber of Commerce. Agulia was overwhelmed by the turnout for his grand opening.
And with six pasta dishes, several desserts and beverages, the smiles and smells reminded many guest of the days at Bistro.
Before the first bite was taken, former Millington First United Methodist minister Ken Uselton said a prayer. Then Agulia’s Bible teacher from Bellevue Baptist Church said a prayer over the business.
With so much support, Agulia said he can’t wait to repay everyone’s trust, loyalty and faith in him with a quality restaruant.
“I’m humbled by the whole experience,” he concluded. “For people like Mr. David Peel and Inspector (Charlie) Coleman to take time out of their business schedules for this and support us. It means a lot to me. The new and current Aldermen, Mr. Uselton and Mr. (Terry) Jones are here. We’re trying to keep the tears back all day.”