Upon moving to the United States from Italy in 2003, personal circumstances compelled Mazi Enti to delay his long-held dream of becoming a dentist to enter the local restaurant business, a path that led him to open Scuzzi’s Italian Restaurant near Shavano Park in 2008.

Enti said he worked at places, such as Salsalito Cantina and Mexican Restaurant as well as Acenar, before an opportunity arose for him to own a restaurant.

Enti said he learned what he could observe in the various local restaurant jobs he has held in life.

But chatting with diners and providing them with a full, fun dining experience convinced him to own and run a restaurant, Enti said.

“I’ve always liked being around people, making small talk, getting to know them better,” he said. “Some customers think it’s lovely that you remember the last meal they ordered.”

Everything from the white tablecloths and classic pop music playing softly in the background to the wall decor and attentive staff helps ensure diners will have fun at Scuzzi’s, he said.

Enti said he especially likes personally greeting visitors in a casual, welcoming way.

“It’s important you take care of the people who come into the restaurant. I can shake their hands, introduce myself, but never as owner of the restaurant. I just introduce myself as Mazi,” he said. “You just take care of them and be humble.”

Scuzzi’s menu features more than one dozen pasta dishes; a range of oven-baked meals; sausage and pork entrees; 9-inch flatbread pizzas; and steak, chicken or seafood dishes.

Unique offerings include Texas Gulf Coast oyster specials for happy hour from 2-7 p.m. weekdays and half-price wine bottles on Tuesdays.

Scuzzi’s full bar is supplemented by a wine selection of more than 120 bottles, an extensive tequila assortment and various after-dinner drinks, such as Carajillo, a cocktail caramelized by flaming Licor 43 and an espresso shot, he said.

Scuzzi’s is most successful when a diner feels at ease and relishes their food and drinks, Enti said.

“I just want people to come in, relax and let us take care of them, course by course,” he said.

4035 N. Loop 1604 W., Ste. 102, San Antonio. 210-493-8884. www.scuzzisitalianrestaurant.com