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Owners Marcello and Gabriella Mandreucci stand inside their new eatery, Becco Crispy Chicken. (Photo by Suzette J. Lucas.)
There was seemingly every dining choice available in Hamilton Square, but Marcello Mandreucci realized there was one thing missing.

So on Nov. 17, 2015, Marcello and his 20-year-old daughter Gabriella opened Becco Crispy Chicken at 31 George Dye Road. It is in the Pizza Grill Plaza, which is convenient since Mandreucci owns Pizza-Grill.com a few doors down.

“My dad is always thinking. He’s very ambitious,” said Gabriella, who manages Pizza-Grill.com. “In this area we didn’t see anything like this, so he just came up with it. There are pizzerias everywhere, they’re on every corner. But in our area, we don’t really have a good place for this kind of food.”

Becco—which is Italian for beak—offers an array of chicken dinners, both fried and grilled, along with chicken fingers, buffalo tenders and wings ranging from Buffalo, BBQ or garlic parmesan. A rotisserie chicken option is in the works. Also on the menu are shrimp, fish & chips, clam strips, chili, ribs and a variety of sandwiches, which have been extremely popular so far. Side orders include fried mushrooms, waffle rings, different styles of potatoes, fried zucchini, corn nuggets and corn bread.

The recipes come from a variety of sources, as Marcello and Gabriella did their homework, talking to people who worked at eateries like Chicken Holiday. They took the information, and developed their own style, using meats that are all fresh. Nothing is frozen.

“Food is very important to us, he will not serve anyone anything that he will not eat himself,” Gabriella said. “We cooked chicken for months before we found exactly what we wanted to do.”

The restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can eat in, take out or get delivery.

Mandreucci said traffic has been steady from the start. A few tweaks were made at the suggestion of customers, and the feedback has been positive.

Mandreucci already has a solid track record, as Pizza-Grill.com is in its 11th year of operation. Gabriella, who attends Mercer County Community College with plans on getting into restaurant management, began working there six years ago while a freshman at Robbinsville High School. She started out answering phones, but quickly discovered the restaurant business was for her.

“It became such a passion,” she said. “I love making people happy, and that they love our food and love what we do. Without our customers, we’re nothing, especially in a small business.”

Gabriella is the only one of Marcello’s three children to show an interest in the restaurant business. Father and daughter planned on a joint venture when she finished school. But a year ago, when space opened up, Marcello decided to go into business with his ambitious daughter.

“I was very nervous having all this schoolwork and working full time,” Gabriella said. “But we balanced it very well, and I just did it.”

She is now a proud business owner of an establishment the father-daughter team hopes will expand.

“We’re hoping to one day be a franchise,” Gabriella said.

“This is the first link of the chain,” Marcello added with a grin.

One thing is certain, Marcello has taken on a partner whose attitude is as fresh as the chickens she serves.

“You can go anywhere and if the owner isn’t as involved as my dad and I are, you’re not going to get a good product,” Gabriella said. “Ingredients matter. But I really believe (quality) comes from the passion of the owner. Every person who comes in is the most important to us.”

Becco Crispy Chicken is located at 31 George Dye Road in Hamilton. Phone: (609) 981-7199. Web: beccochicken.com.