Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Back in early October 2012, we heard that Lorella Innocenti, who operated I Coppi on East Ninth Street, was opening a new restaurant on Avenue A in the storefront that previously housed Vampire Freaks.
She was going to run it with her sister Maristella, who owns Matilda on East 11th Street near Avenue C.
However, a few weeks after the news of the Avenue A project, Hurricane Sandy hit … and Matilda was was one of the businesses that struggled to get back up and running … all the while, the plans for the new Italian restaurant stalled. The sisters took to the streets last summer to find investors to make the new place a reality.
Apparently they didn't have much luck. The storefront at 189 Avenue A near East 12th Street is now for rent … a sign that follows the eviction notice last month.
It will be interesting to see what might take the space. The two buildings here will be dwarfed by developer Douglas Steiner's 7-story retail-residential complex coming soon to the former Mary Help of Christians complex.
But for now…
Previously on EV Grieve:
Reader report: I Coppi team opening new restaurant on Avenue A
Owners of I Cipressi take to the streets to find investors
New residential complex at former Mary Help of Christians lot may include rooftop swimming pool
Meet your new neighbor on Avenue A
Friday, August 9, 2013
The above sign has been hanging in the window at I Cipressi. The Italian restaurant, in the works since last fall at 189 Avenue A, is from the folks who ran I Coppi on East Ninth Street.
The sign mentions problems with opening and points people to Facebook to learn more.
This letter via Facebook is dated July 24. It's slightly edited for length.
This is the story of two sisters from Tuscany, two restaurants and Hurricane Sandy.
My name is Lorella. I owned a restaurant on east 9th st. named I Coppi for fourteen years ... I had to close I Coppi in September 2012 after a series of unfortunate episodes, mostly a very ugly divorce.
My sister, Maristella, owns a restaurant called Matilda on east 11th st. — open since 2007. Together we decided to open a new restaurant. We got a great space on a great location, Avenue A between east 11th and east 12th. We were doing fine working at it slowly but effectively. Friends and family helped us as well investing some money. But then Sandy came. …..
Matilda restaurant is situated between Ave B and Ave C, one block from the con ed station that exploded ... The restaurant got flooded. She lost almost everything. We had no electricity or hot water like the rest of the families living across from us and around us. It was a war zone. It was wonderful as well because the people in the neighborhood got together and we all worked to help each other with food, carrying all the destroyed furniture outside on the sidewalk and mostly trying emptying the basements from water.
To make a long story short we were closed for more than a month but the bills kept on coming. Not the landlord nor Con Edison gave us a break. We filled up all kind of relief papers but did not get a penny, not from FEMA, not from anybody.
My sister had to get a job to keep her restaurant open while I take care of it, her daughter and my son. The moral of this very long story is that we are about to lose our new location, which is crucial to the future of our kids...
Sincerely, Lorella and Maristella Innocenti Da Vinci
Meanwhile, these signs are up now around the neighborhood ...
[Photo by William Klayman]
They are looking for investors to help them get the restaurant on Avenue A open...
From a follow-up email to us:
The space needs an exhaust system and I found a company that gave me a great deal. I own most of the equipment (hood , dishwashing machine, dough mixer, pasta machine, lowboys refrigerators, steel tables, steel slicers). I have all the custom made wooden tables and wooden Napoleon chairs, lots of beautiful ceramic and terracotta decorations from Tuscany, which I brought myself from Florence where my family lives.
I do not need an impossible amount of money and it will be an investment. I do not want anything for free. I know I have to work very hard and I always did.
By the way, I have the same chef that I had at I Coppi, in addition a French pastry-bread chef, Daniel, who is amazing. We are going to have breakfast with all type of goodies, fresh baguettes sandwiches, cappuccinos, lattes, espressos, fresh squeezed juices. I cannot wait to start ... This is going to be an investment and a lot of fun.