Some people are fond of saying, “All things happen for a reason.” I don’t know that I believe that, but I do know that my husband, Jeff, and I have embarked on another extraordinary adventure. If closing down our business after 20 years, and relocating to Italy, wasn’t enough to keep us entertained, we are now about to become restauranteurs!
Our dear friends, Claudio and Martina, ran our favorite bar/ristorante in town, called Erba Luna. As anyone who follows Montone news knows, the unreasonable Roman landlord jacked up the rent on their space and they had to close Erba Luna last November. Everyone in town has been distraught. If the piazza is the heart of town, then the bar is the lifeblood that flows through it. All winter long, we received sad e-mails from all of our Montonese friends saying how quiet town was with just one bar.
In the meantime, the commune (the local government) offered some space to Claudio and Martina to create a new restaurant. The space is literally a hole in the walls. It is a vaulted ceiling space within the medieval walls of the town. This part of the wall probably dates back to the 14th century, and has at various times has housed the riches of the Fortebraccia family, served as the town’s root cellar and chicken coop, been a stable, and was a bomb shelter during World War II. We were recently told that a German bomb fell through the building, and is still lodged somewhere either beneath the nearby park, or in the restaurant itself, but we’ve been assured the explosive device was removed long ago!
Restoration, renovation, or creation (whatever you want to call it!) of the new restaurant began in mid-May, and things have been proceeding very, very quickly and we are hoping to open by the end of July.
I apologize for not posting sooner, but I think we needed some time just to absorb what is happening. We are excited, worried, exhilarated, challenged….and that’s just the emotions of the last 5 minutes. Not to mention just a little busy! Friday afternoon, I was jammed into the back of our pick up truck, holding onto a large toilet that had to be swapped out for an even larger toilet! A very glamorous business! But we came back to the ‘cantieri’ (construction site) to see Claudio swabbing the kitchen floor with some sort of glue that creates a moisture barrier, and Jeff had planted our first flowers outside, and all of a sudden, we could almost glimpse the front door opening for business.
Here’s a teaser photo of the entrance in mid-May. Next post, I’ll start giving the guided tour of the new Erba Luna!