The business was meant to be his new venture after paying his dues in several notable local Italian eateries, including Terroni and Sette Mezzo, followed by a few years as a commercial realtor before returning to his passion for cooking. Despite numerous years working in countless restaurants, he is very frank about the people who had the most significant impact on him. "I was born in a kitchen with an army of Italian women feeding us constantly. My grandparents had huge tomato gardens and preserved food like salumi, wine, sauce, etc., year-round. I've also worked in dozens of restaurants, but It's my Nonni and my mom that deserves the credit for the food I make now," says Schillaci.
With a lease penned in February of 2020, menu concept solidified, and staffing plans to see the operation through to its planned March 1, 2020 opening, the abrupt break would come swiftly and last longer than anyone was prepared for.
"I was really disappointed with how the federal government handled the situation and the lack of any real support for small businesses. It's hard to even talk about. There was no wage relief, very little rent relief and so many obstacles to jump through as a new business to prove you even qualify for any support. How do you show revenue loss when you are only in year one and starting from zero?" laments Schillaci.
These sentiments are echoed by many in the food and beverage industry, who have had to battle rising ingredient costs and increased wage demands consistently. "I felt like throwing these tables into the middle of the street to make a point. What do I need these tables for? We open, we close, we open, we close. I was getting motion sickness from trying to keep up," says Schillaci. It is clear that what he's been through has worn down the tread on his wheels, but what is even more evident is that his passion continues to foster the strength needed to push through oncoming obstacles and bring only the best to his customer base -- both old and new.