So, that’s it then. The photos are down, the tables are gone and our little place is an empty shell. We’ve gone up those stairs and locked that door for the final time and it really was quite an emotional time for all of us. Lidia had the pleasure of locking the door for the last time and could barely see through the tears as she pulled down the shutter and waved goodbye to a big part of all of our lives.
The last few days before closing really were phenomenal. The kindness from our customers has been truly amazing and we are forever thankful for their continued loyalty and friendship. I think it is safe to say that you are regarded not only as customers to us but as friends and part of our extended family. The outpouring of emotion from many of them just blew us away and, naming no names, watching several of our male customers who have been with us for a long time, with tears in their eyes and voices cracking with emotion, really sent us over the edge, ok now I’m starting again, get me a hankie!
Back to the final 3 days when we had such a ball with everyone as you will have seen from the photos posted earlier. Thursday evening, we played host to the wonderful Mr Ken Ford from Capital and Regional along with all of his family and close friends who took over the whole place to celebrate our demise! What an amazing night we all had. Mr Ford is not just a pretty face as some of you will know, he is also a demon on the drums! We had the greatest pleasure of Mr Ford and his band entertaining us for the whole evening with some fantastic tunes that had everyone on their feet and as if that was not enough, Mr Fords’ sons and daughter then took to the stage to blast out a few songs and they were fabulous! On the musical theme, Alan Watt of Alan Watt Consulting showed off his song writing skills by devising a witty little song about Costanzo. Mr Watt accompanied by himself on guitar, regaled us with verse upon verse of wit and although he did tell us at the beginning that he was no singer, he was actually not bad at all! We were very impressed and Costanzo was touched at the thought that had gone into Mr Watt’s song. Mr Watt was kind enough to send us a copy of a short video he took of the evening so we can relive the whole night again whenever we wish! Thank you so much Mr Watt for the time that you took to do both the song and the video, Costanzo and the family really appreciate your kindness. Really, really enjoyable night with fantastic entertainment and great company and had we not had to crawl into work early the next morning, we would love to have let you party on but 2am it had to be! It was a night of laughter and many tears with a lovely speech made by Mr Ford and a really special gift presented to us of a giant framed painting of the Last Supper which all of our heads superimposed on the disciples heads! We are all wearing jesus sandals in it which I am sure must be against health and safety rules for the restaurant but who cares, we’re really chuffed that something special was created just for us and we will treasure it forever! It, along with all of the wonderful paintings and photographs, will grace the walls of our new place so that the Caprese will never be forgotten by any of us. Thank you so much Mr Ford and your family for your many, many years of loyalty to Costanzo and The Caprese. Thank you so much again to Mr Ford and his amazing band who although wedged into a tiny corner of the restaurant, managed to entertain every last one of us and ensure that we all had a great night. Thank you to all of the guests that evening, some of whom had us laughing with tears running down our faces, you know who you are, you all helped to make our ending extra special and we hope that we will see you all in the new place when we re-open.
Friday, bleary eyed and exhausted, we ventured in to start the marathon again. For lunch we had another full house with some of our regulars popping in for the last time. Our resident brokers, Mr Oxley, Mr Thompson and Mr Walker who we see on almost a daily basis, came in for their final lunch and we had the greatest pleasure of meeting the newest addition to Mr Oxley’s family, his beautiful daughter Isabella, when his wife brought her down to visit us. Poor Isabella was passed around each of us for a hold but we are so glad that Isabella was able to visit her fathers’ favourite restaurant before it is flattened and I am sure that we will be seeing a lot more of her in the future as she grows up! Thank you so much boys for your continued loyalty to us, we really will miss you all and frankly are rather worried about what you will be eating in the next few months before we re-open! We know we will see you all in the new place and we will be in touch when that happens. We also played host to Mr John McLean and friends for lunch. Mr McLean has been coming to us for years and wanted to spend a last lunch in the Caprese before we go. Thank you so much Mr McLean for the beautiful painting that you had commissioned especially for us which shows Costanzo and the girls standing outside the entrance to the Caprese. What a wonderful thought and such a special thing to do. This too will take pride of place in a special spot in the new restaurant, once again, another reminder of the kindness of our wonderful customers which we will never forget.
No sooner had we cleared up and re-set the tables from lunch, it was time to start all over again for the Friday night onslaught. We had some more of our special customers from over the past 26 years visiting us that evening so it was another evening of reminiscing and reliving the memories of the by-gone age of endless company expenses and never-ending lunches enjoyed by many of our wonderful customers before the recession hit! We had the wonderful Mr Angus Meldrum and friends for the evening who have been customers from the very beginning from their days at Tennents. Angus and all of you made the evening very special with some heartfelt words being spoken and the very special gift of the piper and his beautiful tune specially commissioned for the Caprese was a wonderful touch and so very much appreciated by Costanzo. The music being presented in a frame means that we can also take this with us and treasure yet another fantastic memory of The Caprese. Thank you all so much for making the ending so special for Costanzo, he will never forget all of your kindness. Also in that evening, a big thank you to Mr and Mrs McKenzie and friends, we’ll miss you, especially for the answers to our pop quizzes (Womack and Womack, how you guessed that I will never know), we’ll have a special pop quiz especially for you coming to the new place I think! Mr and Mrs Todd and friends, lovely to see you all again and thanks again for the cookies, Costanzo has only just finished them off! To the McIvers, many thanks for a wonderful evening and along with Mr McKenzie, we hope that you enjoyed the special hair transplants you were given that evening, courtesy of Lidia. As you may have seen already, the photos are up there for the world to see and don’t you all look wonderful, including Costanzo, with your new hairstyles! Thanks for being such good sports and for allowing us all to have a laugh! Mrs Forrest and friends, big thank you also and hope we will be seeing you all in Woodside Crescent when we open.
Dazed, bemused, dog-tired, feeling as though we had been hit by a bus, we awoke to our final day of the Caprese. It was so strange knowing that this was it. That no more would we be heading off to Buchanan Street to start our day, was a very strange feeling indeed. We mustered up all the strength we had to get through that day as physically we were utterly exhausted and mentally the emotions were becoming more and more difficult to overcome. We just knew that something would set us off as it had done on several occasions in the past couple of weeks and we weren’t wrong. Maybe it was a combination of the tiredness and the build up to the big day but we were, for the most part of the day, blubbering wrecks. Our chef Arthur gave Costanzo a gift of an embroidered bandana as we sat down to our final lunch, we all cried like babies, his sister Rose had a t shirt made up with the name Don Costanzo and a lovely card, we all cried, it was never ending. Only a week later now my eyes have calmed down, we all looked like we had gone 10 rounds with Mike Tyson by the end of the night!
Saturday, despite the emotions, was a wonderful day. Being our last day we wanted it to be special, for everyone to have a great time, including us and to go out smiling, which we did. Lunch time we had Colin Campbell and friends in celebrating his birthday, we’re glad we were able to squeeze you all in and it was nice to see some of the old faces back in the Caprese again. It all went a bit mad at this point when Colin and friends decided to invite Mr Bongo Man from Buchanan Street down to play the bongos in the restaurant! NO! We have had to listen to this man play morning, noon and night, almost on a daily basis outside of our door and even from a distance he is loud. When we seen him being led in by one of the boys our hearts sank! We were enjoying our last lunch together and bongo man was not on our list of preferred entertainment! We had a laugh though, he banged his bongos and shouted a bit and departed, that was the best bit! Also a big thank you to Donald and Robin, again customers for many years, The Brydons, The Lairds and Maureen Scott, many thanks to all of you for coming to our final weekend and making it special for us. A special thank you to Mr Ford and family once again who came in for their final lunch and thank you Mr Ford for setting us off once again! We were in a right state after you left! So glad that you were finally able to enter into our holy grail of the restaurant, ie the kitchenette! In all of the years you have been coming to us you have never seen our kitchen! Not one to do things by half, Mr Ford and the whole family shoe-horned themselves into our tiny little kitchen for a photo opportunity. Heads popping up all over the place they reminded us of meercats! That photo will be printed off and will hang in our new kitchen I think, as a reminder of our old kitchenette (as Mr Ford kept calling it!). Thank you all so much again, all of you, it was a very special day for all of us.
Saturday night was soon upon us. Everyone was booked to arrive around the same time so it was rather like a private party when they all descended on us. This was a night that has been fully booked for months now, since we have known when we were closing to be exact, with many of our regulars asking us to reserve them a table for the final evening. Sadly we could not do that for everyone and we had to move people to other nights to accommodate everyone, we wish we could have fitted more of you in on the last night! We had a lovely crowd in for our final fling. Customers who have become friends, people who mean something to us, they were all there and we thank each and every one of you. To our very first customers ever, Marjorie Jones, Christine Black and friends, we were so honoured that you wanted to be there for the finale. As you said in your beautiful card, you were there at the beginning, there at the end, and you will be there for the beginning once again when we re-open. You are all wonderful ladies and thank you so much for all of your kindness shown to all of us. You know we will stay in touch and we are always thinking of you, take care all of you xx To our very good friends the Sneddons who have been coming to us for years and once again, are more than just customers. Mr Sneddon and his family have always shown great kindness to both Costanzo and the family, never forgetting us on special occasions like Christmas even when they are thousands of miles away, they always think of us. The beautiful gifts for both Lidia and Christine’s upcoming weddings this year were such a kind thought and greatly appreciated, the numerous specially embroidered bandanas for Costanzo flown in from Florida (which they sported as they entered the Caprese for the last time that night, looking fabulous of course!), just amazing kindness shown and we really can’t thank you enough. Now that you have found our blog Mr and Mrs Sneddon, you can keep in touch when you are away and find out what we’re up to whilst we’re closed! To Gerry McNee and family who have had their table booked for the final night for 14 years, it has been a long time coming but the final night finally arrived! Mr McNee has been another long time customer along with his family and has always enjoyed a special relationship with Costanzo due to their love of football. We know we will be seeing you all up in Woodside Crescent as soon as we open and Costanzo promises that he won’t give you a table with a view of a Glasgow drunk spending a penny in the doorway, those days are over now Mr McNee! To Mr and Mrs Clark and family, again customers who have become friends, we thank you so much for your continuing support of Costanzo and the family. Of course we know that we will be seeing you all up in the new place, where else would you get the kind of abuse that Costanzo gives you, you can’t put a price on that can you! To Mr and Mrs Ritchie, again special customers and special friends for many years, a huge thanks to you and your family. You have always been extremely thoughtful to all of us over the years and we really appreciate your generosity and kindness and it was lovely to see you on our final night. To Des and friends, so glad you could make it for the final night and hope you enjoyed it. Always full of wit, Des has kept us laughing at his typically dry Glasgow sense of humour for years now and we look forward to you visiting us in Woodside Crescent later on in the year. Another big thank you to Mr Wilson and Mr McDowell our lovely property dealers who we normally see on a regular basis at lunch time but since it was the special occasion of our closure, we had the pleasure of theirs and their wives company for the final evening. We will see you in the summer when we re-open, for your regular lunches once again!
To everyone that was there on that final night and in those final days, a really big, huge thank you for the special things you said, the wonderful gifts that Costanzo was extremely touched by and just for being there. If it weren’t for customers and friends such as yourselves, The Caprese would never have been half of the success that it was. It has been twenty six years of laughter, of tears, twenty six years of hard work and sacrifice but every single minute a complete pleasure. It is extremely hard to let go of something that has been a huge part of your life for such a long time. Who would have thought all those years ago in 1985 when it first opened that it would have evoked such emotion and created so many wonderful memories, after all it is only a restaurant. It is merely bricks and mortar many would say and perhaps they are right but it is our bricks and mortar, that’s what matters. That tiny little basement with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp, the frequently flooded toilets, the frequently flooded restaurant, wobbly tables with corks under the legs, the red bibs with huge holes in them, profanities being shouted from the kitchen and clearly being overheard by the customers, all of these are memories that we hold dear to our hearts because they are part of what The Caprese was all about. It was a part of the family. It wasn’t pretentious or stuck up. It stood strong and flourished despite its unattractive exterior because our customers could see through the ugliness and appreciated it for what it was worth, not for how it looked. This is the little restaurant that had several grown men in tears on our final evening as they recounted their many years of coming to The Caprese and relived their favourite memories with each table giving wonderful speeches to say goodbye, many of whom could not finish what they were trying to say having become overcome with the emotion of it all. We were truly stunned at the outpouring of emotions and the thoughfulness of everyone and we just want to extend our never ending gratitude for your loyalty, your friendship and your support over the years.
We will never forget the Caprese and we will never forget you. The Caprese will shortly be reduced to pieces of rubble at the end of this month but it will live on in our hearts and we will take all of those wonderful memories with us. It is time for a new beginning………………….