By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
After 15 years of serving Palisadians Italian dishes, Giuseppe “Pino” Barravecchia is closing Pinocchio in Cucina.
“I put my soul into this place,” Barravecchia told the Palisadian-Post on Monday, March 4. “I have to say, the reason I was able to last and make it [is because] there is a soul in that place.”
Hailing from the Sicilian town of Piazza Armerina, Barravecchia shared that he learned his work ethic from his parents, waking up as early as 4 or 5 in the morning to put 15 hours in at the restaurant.
“That’s how they ran their business,” he said, “seven days a week.”
When Pinocchio’s first opened, Barravecchia had partners, but for the past several years, it has been just him, including through a remodel.
Since revealing that he would be leaving the Palisades, Barravecchia said the response from customers has been unbelievable, adding that he has watched some customers literally grow up—from when they used to come in with their parents to bringing a significant other in for date night.
“I’ve been feeling love,” Barravecchia said. “People come in and cry—you don’t see that anywhere else.”
Barravecchia shared that the cost of operating Pinocchio’s and the competition have gotten higher and higher over the past few years. But he understands that people need new things.
“When you have 28,000 people and 15 restaurants, [and then] the same amount of people and new places, it doesn’t take much to figure out, some of the business will go to other businesses,” Barravecchia explained.
He had the option to renew the lease, but decided that it was time to move on.
“[I had to] figure out the less painful thing for me to do … don’t renew my lease, finish my term,” Barravecchia said. “Let’s see what life brings me after, what is next.”
Those who want to say farewell to Barravecchia will have an opportunity between now and mid-March, when the store is expected to shutter for two to three weeks before reopening with a new name under the ownership of Palisadian Gianbattista Vinzoni.
“I’m not leaving rich,” Barravecchia shared, “I’m leaving full of love … thank you so much, everybody, for the support that Pinocchio’s has been receiving.”
Barravecchia added that he is looking for his next opportunity, and anyone interested in contacting him for work or to say goodbye may do so at 323-369-2116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.