In the seaside splendour of Castiglione della Pescaia we meet Gabriele Grifoni who welcomes us to his now famous Casina Kitch.


To tell the story of Gabriele and all the influences that led him to the creation of his highly successful, unique business would take a whole book; unfortunately we only have a few pages here so we’ll try our best to summarize the incredible deeds of a life lived around the world.

Gabriele’s innate survival strength was immediately put to the test: he was orphaned by father Remo when still very young and immediately realized that: “Having been born one metre behind a lot of people, I needed to be five metres ahead of everyone”.

He started working at the age of fourteen as a lifeguard at the Bagno Granchio. Thus his love for the sea grew.

A few years after came his departure for military service with the commandos of the San Marco battalion of the Navy; another important experience and then the return to his beloved Maremma.

From here a rhapsodic crescendo: he took over the Pinetina Nord establishment, then the Bussola in Punta Ala and finally the Camping le Marze beach. He was still only twenty.

But what Gabriele is all about the most are the travels he’s made around the world and his passion for the cultures of the Andes; from Australia to California he has had a series of great adventures. One of the most enlightening trips was to Los Angeles: having left for auditions as an actor, his Maremma-ness came out and he prefered to experience the city with a job in Hollywood as a carpenter, in a Mexican carpentry.

“After that  ̶  he tells me  ̶  I bought the A-Team van (a well-known 1980s television series) and traveled halfway across America”.

Another passion, for deserts this time, led him to travel to distant Australia where he lived for a while, alternating work and surfing. On sabbaticals he lived in Rome, where he also worked as an official driver for the Festa del Cinema (one of twelve) and frequented many hang-outs of the international jet set of the worlds of politics and entertainment.

And it was in Rome that his life changed definitively.

At that time he was riding around on his Harley Davidson as a sales representative for gym equipment  ̶  and to win customers over, he took them out to eat at an upscale French restaurant. The Chef there was Flavia Iocchi  ̶  who was to become his future wife and mother of his son. Gabriele had fallen madly in love.

Flavia, also a woman of the world, soon reciprocated his sentiments and the couple, now firmly united  ̶  made the decision to return to their beloved Maremma to build something important together.

A complete couple in both love and work  ̶  with Flavia the brains and Gabriele the muscle.

For a year they managed the Le Dune bathing establishment in Principina, then the Fronte Del Porto Bar in Marina with the adjoining ice cream parlour. Their arrival in Castiglione Della Pescaia took place with opening  what was to become the noted piadineria Il Diavolo Rosso: “That’s what I am”, says Gabriele amused. That was in June 2010: by September they had already turned out 12,000 savoury items.

More than a piadineria it seemed like a console in which Gabriele, with kaleidoscopic glasses, looked like a DJ; complete with a smoke machine attached… Crazy!

Those were years of major physical and psychological effort, between the piadineria and the bar; later came their decision to abandon this life and concentrate on a single business that would allow for a regular but also proper human commitment.

Thus was born the Casina Kitch: Flavia’s idea perfected by Gabriele, inspired by their American experience. Here was the first real Hamburger place in Castiglione! It’s 2013. Just during the construction of the restaurant, Flavia was pregnant with Edoardo Remo.

A place made from scratch on his own by Gabriele, using his own strength and ideas  ̶  without anyone’s help. Today a perfect ‘creature’, a place with a famous reputation. The format and concept of Casina Kitch is that of a gourmet Hamburger joint: high-level hamburgers starting from a personalized bun recipe, with local low-food-miles products  ̶  an effort  that Gabriele takes care of personally and daily: “I designed the place without ever thinking of having a freezer”, he tells us as he employs an uncompromising express cooking concept. Every morning Luca Mascagni and Kamrul Molla (long-term collaborators of the restaurant) freshly prepare all the batter and coating for the fried foods, all the sauces and the desserts!

A product and a service so special  and good that it also attracts attention overseas: three journalists from New York came here to the Maremma to study the ‘Tuscany Fastfood’ format, creating a successful program that aired for a year on the American Maccaroni Grill network.

In fact, it was actually a commercial for Castiglione Della Pescaia in the United States.

In Germany and Austria Casina Kitch is recognized among the 27 best restaurants in Tuscany: for its Gourmet Burger, Chianina fillet, tagliata, raw meat and battered fried items.

And be careful, here you eat with your hands! “Because food is passion, and eating is like making love”, says Gabriele.

The menu is truly spectacular as it combines American culture with Flavia’s romanitas. We can thus taste Er Buiaccaro (with egg, bacon, onion), potato sheets, Roman cheese and pepper or Il Terrone, to name something odd.

The Casina is always open, in summer and winter and has been the a destination for many celebrities, including Massimo Boldi, Joe Squillo and Gloria Guida.

“We have a magazine autographed by Alan Ducasse with a dedication that we are very proud of”, he concludes.

But now Gabriele has to go shopping for his restaurant: we say goodbye and book a table for the evening…


Info and reservations: Casina Kitch, Piazza della Repubblica, 2, 58043 Castiglione della Pescaia (Gr)/ Tel. 334 2362195