Family

I survived Restaurant Week as well as Winter Storm Jonas’ two inches of um, snow? Sleet? Freezing rain? Whatever it was, I got an extra day off which is always nice. So as a reward, I thought a trip to Cafe Tiramisu was in order. Another reason for the visit was due to the fact that after 20 years in its current location in North Raleigh it’s moving, albeit across the parking lot. Her sister restaurant, North Ridge Pub, moved into its new beautiful spacious digs a few months back. Cafe Tiramisu’s owner Paolo DeMartino, and his sons Richard and Rodolfo, have been huge parts of my family since well before I was even born; and that’s a long time ago. My parents used to go to their first restaurant, Piccolo Mondo, once a year for their anniversary. I remember as a kid going back into the kitchen and seeing Paolo cooking; I was always fascinated by what went on behind closed doors. When my sister got married she had her rehearsal dinner there. So when they finally closed Piccolo Mondo it was like we lost a member of the family. Those were some dark years when I couldn’t get my Italian fix. But when Cafe Tiramisu opened in 1995, it felt like we gained a member back. Once I decided I wanted to go to culinary school and become a chef, they were always there to give advice or just talk about food. It’s kind of a family tradition to spend our time together at Cafe Tiramisu. Instead of once a year for an anniversary it has become once a week. Dad’s birthday? Let’s go to Tiramisu. Got the night off? Let’s go to Tiramisu. Arbor Day? You get the point. Rather than go straight to the table, we always have to go visit Tammi at the bar for a pre-dinner beverage and then stroll back into the kitchen to say hello to Paolo, Richard or Rodolfo. I generally order the same few things every time I go, stuffed clams, veal saltimbocca or chicken parm, not only because it’s delicious and comforting, but because it generates memories of me as a kid. I’ve grown up with the DeMartino Family. They are a part of my family. Hell, my mom still makes Paolo a pound cake for his birthday. It got a little bittersweet sitting at the bar after dinner Wednesday, thinking that this was the last time I was ever going to be in this seat, at this bar, at this restaurant. I might have almost shed a tear. But when Cafe Tiramisu re-opens its doors again soon we can start to make more memories together as a family. Cheers foodies!

paolo

 

 

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