We can think of a few reasons why it would be pretty annoying to live right near Cantinetta. Most of them involve having to shop for new clothes, one size up. Also, we think our family probably wouldn’t appreciate our lasagna quite as much if they knew they could go next door and order Pea Tortellini with Prosciutto Parm Brodo.
But we would be assuaged, because once a year, Cantinetta thanks its neighbors by hosting a free open house, and that night was tonight. They lay out the tables with wines, rich cheeses, salami, prosciutto, calamari, fried risotto balls, nuts, and (oh, it makes our head swim just to type the words) pancetta wrapped dates, and invite in all those who live nearby (and the occasional hyperlocal newsman and family).
Pancetta wrapped dates. In Italian: Delicioso! In Internet: zOMG!
Like last year, it was more than just a chance at free eats, it was a chance to spend some time with the neighbors. There were considerably fewer people than last year, but many, many more children running around outside, playing in the lot behind the restaurant, snacking off the parents plates and dipping their fists into glasses of wine (OK, that last one was Baby Z, please don’t tell CPS on us). The warm sun, the languid conversation and, of course, the meal gave the evening a distinctly European flavor.
Why? Owner Trevor Greenwood explained that it was a way to give back to the community: “We know that there are a limited number of parking spaces, people coming and going, and we really appreciate how gracious our neighbors have been. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’.”
One thing we were curious about was whether the neighbors made up a significant slice of the clientele, or whether they were coming in from elsewhere.
“It’s hard to say,” he explained, “you’ve got a full house, you don’t know where everyone’s coming from. But tonight, of course, everyone here is from close by. So I told the staff, look around, see who’s here. This is your chance to get to know them.”
Staff: take note. We are your neighbors with the dreamy, far-away look in our eyes and pancetta wrapped dates in our cheeks. We’ll be back.