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Don Costanzo Summer Holidays Reminder!

Just a quick reminder to everyone that as usual, we will be closing up for the summer holidays at the end of June, last day Saturday 30th June and re-opening at the beginning of August.

 

Hopefully we will see some of you before we head back to Capri for the month but if not have a wonderful summer and we will see you when we get back in August!  Happy Holidays!

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NEW BLOG UP AND RUNNING!

Hi all.  Just to let you all know that the new blog is now finally up and running at http://www.doncostanzo.com so for those of you that are receiving email subscriptions, please subscribe to the new one which I promise I will try to keep updated regularly from now on!

 

We are also now on Twitter @doncostanzos so if you are a tweeter please find us and follow us!  We hope that we can keep that updated often with what is going on at the restaurant, photos etc as well as doing the blog.  

 

Hope this latest post finds you all well and that we will see you all again soon.  

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Paul McBride QC – A Man in a Million RIP

It has been a while since our blog was last updated purely down to lack of time so we do apologise.

Silence is broken today though to pay tribute to one of our friends and customer Paul McBride who tragically passed away on last Sunday morning whilst on business in Pakistan.  His death has left us shocked and stunned since we heard the news.   Paul and his partner Gary have been coming into Don Costanzo’s several times a week since we opened and we warmed to them in an instant.  Paul’s dry sense of humour, his energy, his zest for life lit up the room as soon as he entered quickly transforming our restaurant into what seemed like a private party of friends joining together for dinner.  There was never an occasion that he came in and didn’t know at least one person in the room and his generosity and kindness knew no bounds.  We have lost count of the amount of bottles of wine he sent to other tables, picked up the bills for friends all without their knowledge, an incredibly kind individual who would do anything to help someone out.  He had time for everyone from the dishwashers to the waitresses and was always eager for a chat and a gossip.  

Paul came into our lives like a whirlwind, his personality hitting us like a ton of bricks and he has left us devastated and wanting more.  Paul and Gary as a couple brightened up the room as soon as they entered and we looked forward to seeing them bounding down the stairs to see us.  We won’t ever see that again and it is incredibly sad.  Paul and Gary spent their last night with us before he flew off to Pakistan the next day and we are so grateful for that last chance.  With no other customers in the restaurant, we were able to spend a couple of hours chatting about various things and we thank God we had that final opportunity.  

Paul was an incredibly talented man who achieved so much in his short life and he packed so much into that life, lived it to the full and has left us all too soon.  We joined mourners yesterday to say goodbye at the funeral at St Aloysius Church in Glasgow and the church was packed full of people from all walks of life paying their respects to this amazing man.  It was truly a pleasure and privilege to know him and we wish Gary and his mum and dad George and Mary, our deepest of condolences and hope they have the strength to get through this very difficult time.  With all our love Paul, RIP. xxx

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Westenders!

We are back!  What a week we have had, it has been hectic!  It has been fantastic to see all of the old faces again and some new ones too.  We opened as we wanted to, quietly, to allow us to adjust to our new surroundings.  Our first night last Wednesday welcomed in some of our very best customers who have followed us for many, many years and it was wonderful to see everyone again.  Saturday was even busier with most of our customers reluctant to leave at the end of the night!  The general consensus of the new place is that although it is not The Caprese, it is better.  It is warm, welcoming, spacious and a great atmosphere, hence why we found some people wanting to linger on a bit longer than they normally would (you know who you are!).  We had a great time ourselves although it was extremely hectic (I would describe it as headless chickens myself) and everyone enjoyed themselves which was the main thing.

 

We are into our first full week now and seeing a few new faces popping down from the local community.  We have only been open for 9 days in total and already have new regulars!  Bacchus is still here thankfully and no one has attempted to make off with him in the middle of the night (they could try and perhaps end up in the Royal Infirmary!).  Lots of people having their photos taken with him so he is a bit of a local celebrity now. 

 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the people who have helped us to get everything ready for opening.  Our wonderful customers who have offered their services and saved the day like the McLernons from Ironcraft in Hillington, Glasgow who constructed our menu board, welded the railings etc etc, Mr Ritchie who kindly sorted our electrics out, all great customers and friends who assisted us in having it all ready in time, we really appreciate it, thank you so much.

 

It is still early days for us in our new location and many people still do not know we are here yet and are coming across us by accident as they are passing by.  Still so many of our customers do not know we have re-opened, especially if they do not follow the blog or if we have no contact details for them but hopefully word will spread and we will see them all again soon.  We are really missing our Concert Hall nights and all of our little couples who came regularly before they went to the concerts.  Although we are not right next door to the Royal Concert Hall as we were before, we are actually not that far by taxi.  It is still possible to have an early dinner since we open at 5pm and reach the concert hall before it begins usually at 7.30pm.  By taxi (we timed it!) it is 5 minutes from us so really not too far at all.  We are also very close to the Kings Theatre, walking distance so we may still get some concert goers. 

 

I must apologise for the lack of updates recently and the non-appearance of the new blog, there really has been no time to get things organised but hopefully with a bit better time management (ie delegation) things will start to happen soon!

 

Thank you once again, all of you, for all of your continued support over the years and in the past week when you have visited us.  It is always difficult starting a new business, especially in the current economic climate but with your help and best wishes we are sure we will make Don Costanzo an even bigger success than The Caprese.  Take care everyone and hope we will see you soon at the new place!

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Is it that time already?

Countdown time, one more day until we open!  Cannot believe that it is finally time to open our doors again, it seems like so long ago, too long, that we closed down in Buchanan Street to make way for the bulldozers.  We were thinking at that time that we would be closed for a few months, never did we imagine that we would have to wait until mid November to re-open!

 

It’s quite exciting really, daunting but exciting.  We have been getting visitors galore coming down who just happen to be passing and it has been lovely to see everyone.  We are almost ready (well it wouldn’t be us if it didn’t go off without a hitch), just a few things to do, not much, but enough to make us slightly panic at the thought of opening and being completely organised for Wednesday lunch.  

 

We have been trying to relax on our final days of freedom before work rules our lives once again.  For the first time in years, we actually had 5th November (Guy Fawkes) off so we were able to do some fireworks for the kids on the correct day and not 3 days before or after  (as we usually do).  Firstly we had a fabulous plate of soup to warm us up for the freezing fog which was descending on us.  Some wonderful red wine to accompany the food was a must and off we went to the back garden to enjoy the festivities.  The men, as usual, are in charge of the fireworks, whilst we weak women remain at the back as observers, wary of the impending doom.

 

Costanzo, being head of the household, likes to take charge.  He always has the biggest and the best of the fireworks.  Off the men went to the end of the garden where they set about the planning of our fireworks display.  Everything in hand, they started setting them off.  All went well at first (famous last words).  The fireworks were beautiful and were much enjoyed by all of us, ooing and aahing.   Costanzo’s two son-in-law’s Stephen and Craig then headed off to the bottom of the garden to set some more off.  Next minute there are fireworks shooting off in every direction but the sky.  The garden was in complete darkness but as each firework went off, two figures were illuminated by the light of the fireworks.  As the fireworks got more and more erratic, those two figures (Stephen and Craig) could be seen running up the garden with the fireworks shooting towards them.  Costanzo in the meantime had gone to get another box of fireworks and appeared from the side of the house carrying a big box.  I say he appeared, we couldn’t see him in the dark but another wayward firework headed off in his direction and in the light we could just make him out, running with this big box towards us.  We sensible females who had been standing at the top of the garden with the children started screaming and decided to take cover indoors so promptly shut the patio doors behind us leaving the poor men outside seemingly being shot at by some rogue fireworks.  It was the funniest thing watching them running in the dark though and made for another eventful fireworks night.

 

We were also lucky enough to be featured in the Glasgow Evening Times on Saturday with the headline Blast from the Pasta!  Lots of nice photos of Costanzo and the restaurant plus some of our old photos of Lauren Bacall, Celia Imrie, Alice Cooper, Rupert Everett etc.  Really nice article which we have to say a big thank you to Vivienne Nichol who was kind enough to say some nice things about us!  

 

So, that’s it.  We open tomorrow!  Thank goodness Costanzo has decided to do it all a bit quietly with no big fanfare or commotion for the first day.  We could have put signs up saying opening soon but decided that it would be better to open quietly to give ourselves the time to get into a new routine.  Things will be chaotic, we have no doubt but at least we can ease ourselves into things slowly.  For those of you who have booked for the next few days, remember we have moved!  We had a customer booking yesterday who still thought we were in Buchanan Street!  We are 13 Woodside Crescent, Glasgow G3 7UL and our telephone number is as it was before 0141 332 3070.  

 

More updates to follow on how the opening day went!  Wish us luck!

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It’s a Date!

At last!  We have a date for opening!

We are so pleased to tell you that our opening date is Wednesday 9th November, great news!  We are open for lunch and dinner as normal Wednesday through to Saturday and the following week we will be back to our usual Monday through Saturday lunch and dinner.

It has been a long time coming for us and it has been a frustrating time for Costanzo not knowing when we could open so this is fantastic news for us and we can’t wait to see you all!

You can reach us as normal on 0141 332 3070 for bookings (if you call when we are not there, please leave a message) or if you have any problems, message me here and I will get back to you.

We are taking bookings for next Wednesday onwards and we are already fully booked for a couple of dates around Christmas so hurry and get your dates in!  See you all soon, very soon! (ps thought I would add in another photo of the Bacchus installation.  Just been laughing about it as you can actually see the agony in Costanzo’s face!).

Look at Costanzo's face!

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Have I Got News For You!

We are absolutely ecstatic to be able to tell you that we have finally got our Licence! Yesterday we spent the whole morning at the Licensing Board waiting for our case to be heard and we were given the great news around lunch time that we had been approved!  It hasn’t been without its problems (hence why we haven’t opened when we thought we would) and we did meet with some objections from our very near neighbours but luckily for us the Licensing Board took no notice and granted it anyway!

We’re not out of the woods yet though.  Since this is just a provisional licence we have to apply for the full licence which takes a few weeks so in the meantime we are awaiting news of our temporary (occasional) licence being accepted which would allow us to open hopefully by next week.  I will update the blog as soon as we have notification about the opening date but for now we are looking at week commencing 7th November or thereabouts.

At last we can start to take bookings for mid November onwards and especially the Christmas period which is already filling up!  We are already fully booked for Friday 16th December in the evening so that is a date to be avoided but other days still looking ok.  We are still on the same telephone number 0141 332 3070 so you can give us a call (leave a message if we aren’t there!).

Apart from the Licensing Board Hearing, we’ve had a huge amount of things to finish off to make sure we are ready to open hopefully next week.  At the end of last week we took delivery of a huge marble statue which at the time of ordering it seemed like a good idea, hmmmmm.  When we ordered this 450 kilo statue a couple of months ago, it must have slipped our minds that we had to carry it down 2 flights of winding stairs.  As with all great delivery companies, they refuse to help for health and safety reasons (ie they are not daft) so it was left up to us to get it down there.

When the driver arrived, Ilia went off to the truck to check the delivery.  Her screams could possibly be heard at the other side of Glasgow “Daaaaaaad!” as she looked with horror at the giant crate packed with hay and this head poking out of the top of the crate.  Bacchus had arrived.  When the driver hoisted it onto the pavement we realised the scale of this thing.  The crate took up the whole width of the pavement meaning that anyone that needed to get past with a pram, wheelchair etc, had to go onto the road to get past!  We had enlisted the help of a couple of strong men in advance knowing it would be heavy so they set about trying to break into the crate to get the statue out.  We had hay all over the pavement and road, broken pieces of crate, the old restaurant chairs to lie the Bacchus on, basically we took up the whole street. By this time, the driver has departed, leaving us to ponder how we would get it down the stairs.  During this time, we had a visit from a new wine supplier who was just dropping in some samples so he was forced to help us.  We also had our next door neighbour and his friend who just passed by to ask when we were opening, we kidnapped them too and they formed part of our team of lifters.  

Having decided that for our own safety, we ought to secure it with a rope, poor Bacchus was bound up by the neck and suspended from the rope with 2 of our strong men holding on to it.  Underneath we had the other strong men manoeuvering it down the stairs.  You have never heard so much groaning and screaming in your life.  It was like a cross between the noises you hear at a wrestling match and those big weight lifters at the Olympics when they lift a really heavy weight.  Big groans, screams and lots of swearing in Italian, my sides were sore with laughing.    The poor wine man who was only dropping off some wine, ended up trapping his finger between the statue and the wall, Costanzo strained his neck and is now walking like he has a coat hanger in his jacket and every one of us are now walking about like the hunchback of notre dame.  We should get danger money!  Whilst all of this was going on, there were lots of twitching of curtains from the neighbouring houses, curious to know what was going on.  Two hours after it was delivered, Bacchus was finally in place and our magnificent neighbours who just popped by, our wonderful wine guy who we had never met before but I am sure that we will be imprinted on his mind (and finger) forever, Dario Costanzo’s nephew, Arthur (chief rope man), Costanzo (chief groaner and curser) and Ilia and I, limped off, exhausted and in agony but feeling proud of ourselves that we had actually achieved something that seemed impossible.  

You will all see Bacchus when you come down to the restaurant and now at least you will know what we went through to get him down there!

A big thank you to all of you who have been sending emails of support, the phone calls, the impromptu visits to the restaurant to see how we are getting on, it is all appreciated.  We had a visit a couple of days ago from Costanzo’s old friends Celia Imrie and Fidelis Morgan who were playing at the Glasgow Citizens Theatre on Saturday.  Sadly we weren’t able to offer them dinner and they had to eat elsewhere but it was lovely to catch up with them and a big thank you to them for the beautiful flowers which are now gracing our window sill!  See you both really soon the next time you are in Glasgow.

That is all for now, hope you enjoyed the update and our great news!  See you all soon! 

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Fingers Crossed Everyone!

Sorry for the lack of updates recently, it has been an extremely frantic few weeks to say the least.

We have been working around the clock to get things ready and finally we look like a proper restaurant!  With only a couple of things to finish off, we are all set for opening very, very soon!

This coming Monday morning will see us appearing before the Licensing Board of Glasgow for them to hear our case, finally.  If all goes well at Mondays hearing then we will be opening our doors within the next 2 weeks!  

Keep everything crossed folks, we need all the luck we can get as it has been a long, hard road for us and we are desperate to open!

 

So, to sum up, we’re opening sometime in November, no date set yet but as early as possible.  The date will be announced here as soon as we have it.  If you are looking for Christmas bookings then give us a call now and get your name in the book as we already have some bookings in there and we haven’t even opened yet!

 

Hope to give you some definite news soon but we are getting slightly excited at the fact that the day of opening is almost upon us!  More news as soon as we know.  Take care everyone and see you all soon x

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Going, Going, Gone.

Flattened GOINGGOINGGONE!

The pictures say it all really.  

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IT’S A SIGN!

Finally, we’re starting to look like a restaurant!  We have signs!  It’s really taking shape now thankfully and with only a bit of painting and decorating to do (plus a huge amount of cleaning) we’re almost ready!  If you look through our windows though you wouldn’t think that as it still looks like a building site but appearances can be deceiving!

 

We are feeling quite proud of ourselves actually.  We’ve done all of the painting ourselves and if you had seen what it looked like before and how many coats of paint we had to do to cover the old paint, you’d be proud too! Myself, Ilia and Lidia have been responsible for the inside painting with Costanzo taking charge of the outside painting (we think he chose the outside so that he can have chats with people as they walk past!).  Being 5 months pregnant hasn’t stopped Lidia from getting her hands dirty and she’s down at the restaurant every day with Ilia tackling yet more painting jobs, cleaning, making tea etc etc and bearing in mind that Ilia had never picked up a paintbrush in her life until this restaurant renovation, she’s done really well!  

 

Thanks to everyone who have been emailing us, phoning us and popping down to see us recently.  We are trying to open as soon as we can but we have to wait on the licence.  We know you are desperate for a good meal and we are desperate to open so we will do our best!  People are already asking about booking for Christmas so we better be open!  More news soon!

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Caprese no more.

How sad.  Costanzo took a walk up to Buchanan Street yesterday as he had heard a rumour that the bulldozers were flattening the building.  It’s totally gone!  All that remains is a pile of rubble where we once stood for all those years.  It was due to be demolished in March so we reckon that they had a bit of trouble trying to get rid of it!  Oh well, life goes on after the Caprese.  Soon there will be another generic shopping centre in its place.  One thing we do know though, it may be a nice, shiny, new building but they won’t have half the enjoyment that we had in our run-down little basement restaurant, for sure!

 

We were sorting through all the old photos from the Caprese yesterday and the memories were flooding back.  We came across a big envelope containing some beautiful photos of Capri given to us by our lovely Mr Sneddon.  Many years ago, Mr Sneddon was on a cruise and happened to be passing by Capri and decided to give Costanzo a call as they passed the island. Costanzo was busy in the kitchen and was called to the phone to hear Mr Sneddon tell him that he was sitting on the deck of the cruise liner eating a Torta Caprese and a cup of coffee and was thinking of him.  Costanzo’s response was “Well, I hope you choke on it”.  Hence why on the front of the envelope with the photos, Mr Sneddon had written “I hoppa yo chok”.  Nice! Costanzo really has a way with his customers.

 

Still no date for opening although we do know that our hearing at the licensing board should be October so things are sort of moving along.  In the meantime we are just preparing things so that we are ready to open as soon as we have the go-ahead from them.  It looks like by the time we open we will be right into the busy pre-Christmas period so it will be all hands on deck.  We’ve started advertising for new staff to join us so that has been deep joy going through the mountains of applications! 

 

That’s all for now but we’ll keep you posted on anything that’s happening, good or bad!

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Sneaky Peek!

Hi all, wish it was better news from us but we have still not opened!  Hope you are not suffering too much from withdrawal symptoms with your lack of Costanzo’s food and wit of course.  

We are working hard trying to get things moving along but there is only so much that we can do.  We have to go through the licensing process (which we now know is lengthy!)  and then we can open at last.  In the meantime we are keeping busy, paint brushes in hand, painting everything that doesn’t move, in preparation for opening.  Having done most of the work ourselves we’re feeling quite proud of ourselves but we have had to call in the builders for some jobs.  In fact, we have a resident builder who we feel will find it a wrench to leave us by the time we eventually open, he’s almost like family now he’s been here so long!  And, fear not everyone, for those of you worrying that Costanzo will be out of practice with his witty put downs and insults having being closed for so long.  Our poor builder and his mate have been suffering on a daily basis.  Last week, as one of them walked down the stairs, Costanzo likened him to a Mountain Gorilla (same belly) then concluded that perhaps he was the Missing Link!  Bob, our builder, is so glad that the wonderful tv show “The Scheme” has now ended since Costanzo called him on a weekly basis telling him he has just seen him on the tv again, just as well he’s thick-skinned.

We’ve been shopping around for various things to add to the restaurant.  A few days ago we went off to a small local garden centre and Costanzo spotted a nice garden statue.  He went off to ask the boy behind the counter how much it was and returned stifling a laugh.  He asked how much for the statue, the boy replied, “£800”, hesitated then added “but for you I can do it for £800”. This was said without even a hint of a smile, totally serious!  What a deal, that’s a bargain, we’ll take two!   Costanzo is thinking of taking him on as his new waiter!  Needless to say, we left empty-handed but it gave us a laugh.  

Costanzo has been off out stocking up his supply of porcini in anticipation of opening.  After spending a hard day painting down at the restaurant, instead of rushing home to prepare dinner, off he goes to the hills, wandering.  We’ve built up quite a nice little supply, should be enough for the first week of opening I think!  Garlic, oil, chilli, tossed with freshly picked porcini, on a bed of tagliatelle and topped with parmesan shavings, mmm, who is salivating!  I’ve added a couple of photos of Costanzo preparing the porcini he picked a couple of days ago, hopefully the photos will keep you going until you have the real thing on a plate in front of you very soon!

We’re also giving you a quick sneaky peek of the entrance of the restaurant as it looks now (so far).  Still a few things to be done but it has tidied up rather well thanks to Costanzo’s 3 months of scraping with a wire brush (who can forget, least of all our neighbours).  I know quite a few of you have been down to see us so you have already seen the place so this is for those who haven’t been yet!  Thanks to everyone that have been emailing us with good luck messages and sending messages to the blog.  We really, really appreciate the kind thoughts and it’s nice to know that you miss us.

That’s all for now except to say a big huge best of love and luck to Christine who will be getting married to Robert next Saturday.  Christine won’t be working at the new restaurant as she has decided to be a lady of leisure so after an exotic honeymoon she will be joining the green welly and barbour brigade and living the life of Reilly out in the countryside.  Let’s hope the rain stays off next week and it’s a great day for them.  More news soon!

Bit more impressive of an entrance than the Caprese!

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Good News and Bad News

Well, that’s us back from our annual getaway to Capri.  It seems it was over in the blink of an eye.  We had a fantastic time as usual although apparently we missed the heat wave that hit Glasgow when we were gone.  Now we have returned, the weather has gone back to normal, ie rain,  so what’s new.

 

With our tans fading fast and excess holiday weight to shift, there’s only one thing for it. Work.  Easy to say, but not so easy to put into practice it seems.  We are all raring to go, ready to get back into a routine after so many months away but with only a few things remaining to be done in the restaurant, we are still quite a bit away from opening.  Why, I hear you say.  Well, we still have no licence!  Unbelievably, 7 months after starting the process, we are still waiting.  Frustration would be an understatement as to how we are feeling at the moment.  Fed up, tearing our hair out at the bureaucracy of the whole thing, we know there is nothing we can do to speed up the process so we just have to wait. Judging by the amount of our customers who have been emailing over the summer desperate for an opening date, we are not alone in feeling the way we do, we feel your pain, believe us.  We don’t know much but what we do know is we will not be opening in August for certain.  End of September may be more realistic but that may be a bit optimistic of us to think that the way things are going!  If this carries on for much longer we may have to set some tables up in our back garden for practice, it’s been so long!  Rest assured though, we will let you all know what is happening firstly via email for those of you that have given me your details and then via the blog.  A big thank you to those of you who have emailed us, it’s nice to see that we haven’t been forgotten and we really appreciate it.  On speaking to a few of you it seems that it has been a bit of a struggle to find somewhere to replace the Caprese, well that would be a bit difficult we know;! I mean, where else could you find another Costanzo, answers on a postcard please!  His “unique” style of entertainment we are sure could not be replicated.  We are missing you all and can’t wait to get up and running and back to the normality of the 16 hour days again, gluttons for punishment every one of us!

 

So, whilst we wait for the powers that be to grant us permission to open, we will be slaving away at the new place, making it ready for all of you to finally walk through our doors.  It is taking shape and with only a few bits and pieces to put into place, we will be opening as soon as we have the go ahead, hopefully really soon.  We’ve even been out picking a fresh supply of mushrooms at the weekend.  The first mushrooms of the year for us, we picked a healthy crop and tried them out last night, delicious.  We did keep some for you though rest assured.  No mishaps on this mushroom forage thankfully although there were a few hairy moments when we almost ended up in the river below as the ground was so loose with all of the rain recently.  That and the midges attacking us were the most stressful part of the trip aside from Costanzo stopping to speak to a local farmer who spoke so fast that afterwards Costanzo asked what language the man was speaking as he didn’t understand a word of it!

 

We’ve got plenty to keep us occupied in the meantime before we open what with preparing the restaurant and lots of celebrations coming up too.  Today Costanzo’s granddaughter Stephanie is celebrating her birthday, Happy Birthday Stephanie and on Friday it is the main man himself, Costanzo who celebrates his birthday!  Can’t believe a year has already passed since we had our big party in the marquee in the garden for his big 60!  So Friday will be our big get-together for the joint birthday party for both of them, let’s hope the rain stays off and we will make it an outdoor event again.  Now I have probably jinxed it and it will pour from the heavens as it did last year!  At our events it is not bring a bottle, it’s bring a brolly!

 

Another happy event we are celebrating is the wonderful news that Lidia, Costanzo’s daughter who got married in May of this year, is expecting a baby!  A huge big congratulations to both Lidia and Craig and to Lidia’s two daughters Lucy and Stephanie who are so excited that they will have a new little brother or sister to look forward to! We can’t wait to have a new addition to the family and this will make it grandchild number 6 for Costanzo!  It’s nice to have a bit of good news and it’s something for us all to look forward to.

 

On that happy note, I will finish up for now.  Sorry it’s not better news on the restaurant front but our hands are tied unfortunately.  Hope everyone is having a great summer and we are so looking forward to seeing you all really soon.

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Greetings from Capri!

Once again, it’s has been a while since our last blog posting, mainly due to work getting in the way so finally I have a little time to give you a quick update of what we are getting up to whilst we are closed.

Things are going well at the new restaurant.  There is still much to do but the last time we looked it was coming along fine!  That was a couple of weeks ago though since we are now sunning ourselves once again on our annual pilgrimage to Capri!  I’m writing this at almost 7pm in the evening, the sun is shining with a temperature of around 30 degrees and we are getting ready for a nice refreshing G & T on the terrazza, heaven on earth.  It has been good not to think about all the work that has to be done when we return but already Costanzo’s mind is thinking ahead making mental lists of the work awaiting us on our return.  Until then though, we’ll enjoy what rest we can get and deal with it all when we get back!

 

Capri has been wonderful as usual.  Almost wall to wall sunshine and amazing food every day really does make it difficult to think about coming home.  We had the pleasure of a beautiful meal courtesy of Costanzo’s friend Giovanni who owns the Hotel Weber Ambassador here in Capri.  Many of you will already know Giovanni if you have visited Capri before as Costanzo always tells his customers to stay there due to its stunning location in Marina Piccola, directly facing the Faraglioni Rocks of Capri.  It really has the best view of any of the hotels on the island and Giovanni has only just recently completed his latest renovations to the hotel which include an outdoor glass fronted elevator and 3 swimming pools, making it even better than it was before.  What a fantastic meal we had as the sun was going down.  Spaghetti with Lobster, Parma Ham, Calamari Fritti and the most amazing hot chocolate souffle for dessert which was for me the best part!  Costanzo’s two grandsons didn’t want to leave and decided that they would prefer to stay at the Weber instead of with us!  So, if you are thinking about visiting the island and have never been before, the Weber comes highly recommended!  Just take a look at the views (but ignore the telegraph pole!)

 

Thank you to all of you that have been keeping in touch since we have closed. We will not forget to tell you all when we have a date for opening, don’t worry. When we get back at the end of this month we will have a better idea of when we will be opening so I will keep you updated via the blog in the meantime, just make sure you have subscribed though!

 

That’s all for now, our Gin and Tonic’s are calling to us!  Hope everyone is having a great summer and we will definitely be seeing you really soon!  Take Care from all of us xxx

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Good Times

It’s been a while since our last blog entry for a variety of reasons so please accept my apologies for the lack of updates on what has been happening since we closed!

We really haven’t stopped since we closed down in Buchanan Street at the end of February.  Our final night on the 26th February finished at almost 4am and we were all up with the larks and in the restaurant at 10am that same morning to clear the place of everything.  4 days later and it was all done and we locked up for the final time.  We had heard that it was due to be demolished at the end of March but it is still standing amazingly.  After a couple of days of rest, Costanzo was itching to begin work on the new place in Woodside Crescent so almost every day has been spent down there doing all sorts of jobs to get it ready for opening.

Anyone who lives or works in the vicinity of our new place may already have spotted Costanzo doing various jobs inside and out of the restaurant.  He isn’t just an amazing chef but instead will turn his hand to anything because he hates standing around and doing nothing.  Deciding that the cast iron railing on the outside of the restaurant needed painted, he set about chipping away all of the old paint.  Not a job that can be completed in a day, in fact 2 weeks later he was still chipping and banging at that rail and amazingly enough, none of our near neighbours have murdered him yet because of the constant noise he was making!  A few days ago he was completing the final part of the paint removal when a lady approached him asking for his business card. Costanzo explained that the restaurant was not open yet but should be up and running after August this year.  The lady explained that she was not asking about the restaurant but was in fact so impressed by the job he had made of the paint removal of the railings that she wanted him to come and work on hers when he was finished, seriously!  He is very chuffed at the job he has done though and we all have to go out at regular intervals to admire his handiwork at his insistence!  Apart from outside, the inside of the restaurant is taking shape thankfully.  The kitchen is almost completely done with equipment just waiting to be installed which means we can move on to other jobs.  Still a long way to go though but we are getting there.  

It hasn’t all been about work though.  We did manage to slip away for a quiet break in Capri in April which was much-needed.  Did I just say quiet break?  It would have been had we not bumped into Mr and Mrs McNee who were also there for a quiet break.  Mr and Mrs McNee have been customers and friends of  Costanzo for many years now and we had the pleasure of their company on our final evening at the Caprese so it was lovely to catch up with them outside of work for a quick bite to eat in the beautiful Caprese sunshine.  What a wonderful lunch we had.  The sun was beating down, the wine was flowing and the pizza was to die for.  5 hours later we were still sitting at that same spot surrounded by numerous wine bottles so we decided to walk them back to their nearby hotel which happens to be owned by Costanzo’s friend Giovanni.  A couple of bottles of champagne later, we were on to round two of our marathon session as Giovanni decided to serve up a 4 course dinner.  We only went out for a pizza for lunch and here we are at 10pm still eating!  The copious amounts of wine must have numbed our pain as at that point we didn’t realise how much sun we had actually taken whilst eating outside in the midday sun.  As we bade them farewell at midnight, we arranged for a final lunch together the following day before they returned to Glasgow. Slightly optimistic on our part I think because the following morning we could barely raise our heads from the pillow.  I had a burn on my forehead which was so swollen I resembled the elephant man and a headache which I swear there was someone inside my head with a hammer and chisel trying to break through to my eye.  We decided to give lunch a miss and relax at home to try to recuperate instead.  We would like to thank Mr and Mrs McNee for their wonderful company that day, from what we remember it was a fabulous day and I’m sure that the next time they visit Capri when we are there, they’ll avoid us like the plague!

The best thing to happen this year for us though has to be Lidia, Costanzo’s daughter getting married to Craig last Saturday 7th May.  We were all keeping our fingers crossed for a dry day since the weather had taken a turn for the worse earlier on in the week so fortunately the rain decided to stay off at least until we got the ceremony and photographs over and done with.  What a fantastic day we all had.  It was a small, intimate affair in the village church in Cumbernauld then off for a meal to Costanzo’s friend Antonio’s restaurant after which we headed off for some dancing.  All of the men, including Costanzo looked fantastic in their kilts and Lidia was simply stunning in her dress as we knew she would be.  Everyone let their hair down and the dance floor was full for the whole night which is unusual considering most guests have to be encouraged to get on the dance floor at the beginning of the night. Not this wedding, in fact Costanzo was one of the first ones up there and he barely sat down the whole night, what a night we had.  3 days later and my feet have still not recovered from the pain of dancing in high heels for the entire night.  It really was a fantastic occasion for all of the family and friends to get together and have a ball.  Lots of photos taken which the bride still hasn’t seen yet so as soon as she has, we’ll get some photos on here to show you all how beautiful she looked.  A big thank you to another of our customers Mr and Mrs Todd (Margaret and George) who helped so much with the big day, from creating the wedding bouquets, driving us all to the church, having the foresight to bring an emergency sewing kit to repair Lidia’s dress when Costanzo stood on it outside the house, providing tissues for all of our tears, everything really and we really appreciate it.  It really was a family affair with everyone doing their bit to help out and make it such a special day for not only Lidia and Craig but the entire family.  The sad thing is that it is all over, the whole day passing in a flash but what a time we had.

That’s all for now but photos to follow!


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Arrivederci Caprese – Now on youtube!

For those of you that were unable to visit us during our last few days, we’ve made a short video which has been posted on Youtube which captures the atmosphere perfectly.  Have a look and see what you missed!

 

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Goodbye Caprese, we’ve had a blast.

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………………….

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Farewell Caprese – Part Two

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Farewell to the Caprese – Part One

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