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Just in time for Mother's Day: Napoli’s Italian restaurant moves to Boarders Inn & Suites

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Napoli's

Napoli’s owners Besim (left) and Zeki Shala pose at the host stand of their Grand Island restaurant’s new location at 3333 Ramada Road, inside the Borders Inn and Suites.

A taste of Italy is now found on the south end of Grand Island, rather than the north.

Napoli’s has left its longtime location near Conestoga Mall and landed at Boarders Inn and Suites.

The move was swift. Napoli’s finished up at its previous home April 30, and reopened in its new digs on Saturday, in time for Mother’s Day.

Since opening in 2011, Napoli’s has built a following.

“We really appreciate our regular customers,” says Melody Roe, who’s worked at Napoli’s for 11 years. Another manager, Daysi Stanton, has been at the restaurant five years.

Owner Besim “Besi” Shala says people like the fresh food and service. “People feel comfortable, like family, here,”

The Napoli’s staff takes care of them, he said.

Customers enjoy dipping their dinner rolls into olive oil and seasonings. That bread is baked throughout the day.

Napoli’s customers appreciate the ability to customize their orders.

Napoli’s has three main sauces — Alfredo, marinara and Alla Panna. The latter, a white wine cream sauce, goes by a couple of different names. Some call it Alla Panna. Some just call it pink sauce.

Chicken Alfredo is one of the popular entrées. Another one is the pasta combo, which includes samples of lasagna, manicotti, ravioli, cheese tortellini and Italian sausage, topped with marinara and mozzarella.

Napoli's

After many hours spent preparing and decorating, Napoli's Italian Restaurant will soon open it's doors at a brand new location in Borders Inn and Suites. 

Many customers like Napoli’s Special, which consists of chicken and sausage sautéed with roasted bell peppers, ham and black olives in a white cream sauce with a hint of marinara.

Other popular dishes are Damabianaka (made with chicken or veal), lasagna and pizza.

Roe recommends Napoli’s Toscana soup, made with Canadian bacon, Italian sausage, potatoes and spinach in a cream base.

The restaurant offers lunch specials from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Napoli’s Italian Restaurant, originally owned by Florio Ramadoni, opened on Mother’s Day in 2011. Shala purchased the eatery from Ramadoni in 2013.

Shala and his wife, Zeki, also own two Napoli’s restaurants in Lincoln.

Shala came to the U.S. from the Balkans in 2006. “I am an Albanian from Kosovo,” he says.

Before moving to the U.S., Shala operated two restaurants in Europe.

Arriving in the U.S., he first lived in Dallas. His family also owns a restaurant in Enid, Okla.

Shala moved from its previous Grand Island location because the building needed work, he said. The lease expired April 30.

He hopes the south side of Grand Island needs a good restaurant.

One thing he likes about Napoli’s new home is the party room, a feature the old restaurant didn’t have. The party room, he said, can hold 50 or 60 people.

Including the party room, Napoli’s can seat 188 people. The old location had a capacity of 110.

Napoli’s attracts customers from Hastings, Kearney, Broken Bow and other communities.

Napoli's

Napoli's Italian Restaurant will soon be opening the doors at their new location at the Borders Inn and Suites in Grand Island. 

Some travelers swing into Grand Island for a meal at Napoli’s. One couple from California stops every time they come through Nebraska. They’ve recommended the place to their friends.

For the last two years, the Shalas have lived in Lincoln, where their son goes to school. Before that, they were Grand Island residents for seven years.

Shala says 99% of Napoli’s customers like his food.

The restaurant stayed open throughout the pandemic, which was quite a feat.

Like many other businesses, Napoli’s is having trouble hiring employees.

Even though the Boarders location has housed other restaurants, Shala is confident he can make a go of it. The previous location at 3421 Conestoga Drive, housed several other restaurants before Napoli’s brought stability.

Shala wants to thank the community for supporting his restaurant.

During the worst of the pandemic, he sent a large amount of food, at no charge, to local doctors and nurses to thank them for their heroic efforts.

Today, in honor of Mother’s Day, all moms receive free dessert.

jeff.bahr@theindependent.com

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