“We used to be open seven days a week, until 2 or 3 am,” says Angelo Di Benedetto (61) with twinkling eyes. “Eddy Wally sometimes came to eat with his manager after a show. When he started singing, it was all over. Cherie, Cherie… Those were quite times.”
Angelo opened his ristorante pizzeria more than forty years ago, in 1982, with his brother Leonardo. A few years earlier, in 1978, he had come over from Bisceglie, Italy, near Bari, in the south of Italy. “Like many Italians at that time,” says his wife Regine. “One followed the other.” (Read more below photo)
When brother Leonardo started his own restaurant in Zottegem in 1985, Regine joined in Bari. “We have customers from back then who still come regularly,” she says proudly. “Some of them have become friends who were even present at our son Stefano’s communion.”
On Sunday evenings, many families come to eat in Bari, parents who come to drop off their children. Throughout the week there are many customers who catch a performance in the cinema, the Capitole or the Vooruit. “We also receive a lot of Dutch people,” says Angelo. “We are highly regarded on Google and Tripadvisor.” (Read more below the photo)
Angelo and Regine are doing great business, but forty years of hard work still takes its toll. During the pandemic, a new world opened up for them. Suddenly there was time to rest. When the restaurants were allowed to open again, they shortened their opening days. They will officially throw in the towel at the end of this year.
“We hope that we will find a buyer to continue our dream, our life’s work,” says Angelo. “Our son Stefano, who helps out in the hall, is pursuing his own dream. He has started a company that sells equipment to anglers. We will stop at the end of this year.” Anyone hoping to get a table is in for a treat. The restaurant is completely full until the last day.
And what after? “Rest,” says Regine. “For once we don’t have to stand up at all hours and we spend time with our grandchildren,” Angelo adds. “We are very grateful to our customers and staff for the past forty years.”
Anyone interested in taking over Bari can contact real estate Dewaele.