Great State: From Italy, to Woodward, to Iraq, and Back to Woodward to Open a Restaurant

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WOODWARD, OKLAHOMA -- Art Musili and his little brother grew up in his grandfather's restaurant near Milan, Italy.

They never needed a book or measuring cup to make Chicken Valentina.

They just knew.

It's been more than fifteen years since the brothers made the move to follow their dreams, a restaurant of their own in America.

"Me and my brother gave it a shot, you know?," he says.

They landed in New York then moved to Dallas.

Art and Alvin were helping a cousin with a cafe in Kansas and that's how they first came to Woodward and found the perfect spot to open a business.

Art recalls, "My brother was passing by here one time and, out of the blue, he calls and tells me he needs $50,000. I was like, 'what do you need $50,000 for?"

Their first restaurant was open for ten months, but another opportunity intervened, this time in Iraq.

They didn't join the Army, but they were army cooks for four years.

"We were serving thousands of meals a day," says Musili. "We had special forces. We had U.S. Army."

Let that idea simmer in the hot sun and burning sand.

The war finally ended for U.S. forces.

So, where did they go?

Right back to Woodward.

"It's been the best," says Art. "The people are nice here."

In 2012 Diarti Italian Cafe opened in an old building on 8th Street in Woodward with their philosophy for cooking intact.

Prepare everything fresh.

No MRE's allowed.

Use the family's tried and true recipes like Ziti Lavata, and feed the hungry.

Some of the same military guys who ate Art's Monday night pizza or Wednesday night spaghetti are his steady customers again.

The rest have come to love him too, an immigrant with a good recipe, and a good story, who's willing to share both just about every night.

Art's little brother recently left Woodward to open a new Diarti Cafe in Dallas.

For a look at the menu go to

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