Sue Amato's heart doesn't actually pump Marinara sauce through her veins, but it might as well.
Amato has spent her whole life around Italian cooking and restaurants. Next month, all that experience will pay off, as she opens Angelina's Ristorante at 1866 Main St., in the space that once was home to The Black Olive.
"Right now we're looking at the first week in September. We're very excited," said Amato, who has live in Tewksbury with her husband, Vinnie, and their children for 20 years. "We've got our staff lined up. It's a great staff, they have a lot of experience."
Amato has plenty of practical experience in the art of running a restaurant. She has worked on the management and culinary sides of the business at restaurants owned by her husband and his business partner in Attleboro, South Boston and Hanover. But Angelina's is Sue's baby. She owns the business lock, stock and wine cellar.
"All of my days weren't filled. I was really looking for something more fulfilling," said Sue of her decision to strike out on her own.
She chose to locate in Tewksbury because it's close to her home. She chose the name "Angelina's" because it is close to her heart.
"Angelina was my grandmother," Amato explained. "Our family came from the (Italian) village of Bolognano in (the region of) Abuzzi. The village has about 300 people."
Amato and her children have made several trips to the village to visit with cousins. And with each visit, she learns more about her family and heritage.
"A lot of the dishes we'll be serving are from our village," said Amato. "This is food we grew up with."
But Amato didn't just learn recipes from her grandmother. He grandfather lived her Amato's family when she was a child and often cooked Polenta. That, too, will be on Angelina's menu.
In addition to a wide variety of traditional Italian dishes, Amato says Angelina's will also serve five varieties of steak.
The job of creating authentic Italian cuisine will be the responsibility of Executive Chef Jason Evans.
Family heritage will also be well represented on the wine list, as some of the wines being offered come from the Zaccagnini Winery in that same village of Bolognano.
"All of our cousins were so excited when they heard we were opening the restaurant and that we would be serving the wine from the village," said Amato.
Every bit of Angelina's will have a strong family touch. Photos of the family will adorn the walls. Amato's daughter will helping out and Amato's mother, a skilled calligrapher, designed the restaurant logo, seen on the windows and door.
Amato isn't the only member of her family honoring the memory of Angelina (Santangelo) Tieri. Sue's sister Linda, who lives in Florida, operates Angelina's Biscotti and ships authentic Italian biscotti all over the country (www.angelinasbiscotti.com).