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Sitting at a corner table at the former Mrs. G & Me restaurant, Renzo Maietto can scarcely contain his enthusiasm for his new venture, Renzo's Ristorante.
"I'm going to remodel, make it a different look," he says. "It's going to be very Italian. I am a chef but also coming is a couple of chefs from Italy."
He is seeking approval from the Hendersonville Historic Preservation Commission this week to knock three big holes in the southern wall to make windows. He'll have a new awning. But most of all he talks about the food and the atmosphere.
"We are going to do all the best from Italy," he says. "To be honest we are going to have a variety of dishes and we change every week the menu" in addition to "the base one that people are going to be liking.
"We're going to be innovative al the time," he adds. "We don't want to stick to one menu — pizza, pizza, pizza. We're going to do a basic one, plus all the new things that we can create and invent. We do the pasta from scratch, the tortellini, all through that window, a big one, so it's going to be visible."
He points to the back of the room, to a small window that will be enlarged. It's about the food but also about the show.
"We're going to be very much focused on the quality, the origin, and we try to keep prices accordingly but not expensive — affordable for the area," he says, in the $18-20 range. "I went to the best restaurant in Charlotte and there's no one that can compete with what I'm going to be offering."
He sold his restaurant in Coral Gables, Caffe Abbracci, and moved to Edneyville about two years ago.
"I've been around. No one does it" the authentic way. "Mine is very real, like you go to Tuscany and that's what you find. Tuscany and Mediterranean, like Naples, this is my cuisine, and Northern Italy, too — Bologna, Tuscany and South of Italy."
He'll be at the front of the house.
"All restaurants today, they don't have any ambiance, they're not personalized. They're very anonymous, very cold," he says. "You enter inside the house, they tell you to wait, even if you're alone. Mine is going to be very personalized. I am going to be here seating people and taking care of them personally. If there's not a table available, I'm going to invent it, like they do in Italy. It's the hospitality issue that they are lacking here."
The restaurant seats 68 people downstairs and 37 upstairs, for private parties. He hopes to open by early September.
With the wait staff in classic dress, soft music and Maietto greeting diners at the front door, "it's going to be a party all the time," he says.