Saturday, February 15, 2014

She Got Off Easy

Greenwich Village, 1958. 

So the kids think I'm a grouch, but it's no easy thing to make a ristorante, let alone a store. First there's cooking and my wife is an expert, but you have to have a freezer big enough for all your meals and that takes some dough, if you know what I mean. You need tables; you need chairs; and you need a kitchen, and when I say kitchen I mean a big one.

Restaurants, cafés and bakeries in Greenwich Village don't come cheap, and I want mine to be at least as good as Caffé Reggio. At Sorocco’s, people line up for the food. Me, I don’t care if they like the atmosphere. You come here, you wanna eat, and you wanna eat good.

So why was I angry? That girl Ruby broke a bottle of wine, allright? Our wine is expensive because we import from the Gaja Winery in Italy. For Italians, wine is our water, soda, juice–you name it. That’s why Missus wants Ruby to pay. 

Plus, she comes into our store to hide from the social worker and police. As they say on the block, she wants protezione, and that should be worth a little something. You know?

My girl Elena says she's just a kid, which is why I think she got off easy. Working a few afternoons a week for a month? I should be so lucky. 

And I'll tell you, she's a fresh little thing when she opens a mouth to me and the Missus. Elena would never open a mouth, but then kids in this neighborhood don't have parents looking out for them.

You don't even notice many kids, tell you the truth, unless one sneaks in and hides in your basement, breaking a wine bottle. Until now, she wasn't my problem and I hope she stops being one. But, she should have some consequences so she doesn't waltz in here again.

I'm getting the evil eye, now, from Elena of all people. "Daddy, don't make it sound like a lecture," she says. "People won't like you." What do I care if people like me or not?

So, all right, I don't want to be a grouch. There's plenty to like in this neighborhood, including Sorocco's. If I didn't have to slave away like an ox I'd take a meal at Angelo’s, though the cooking isn't nearly as good as my wife's and it's not in this neighborhood, exactly. I would have called my place Angelo’s too, but they beat me to it.

But you come by sometime, eh? We have one of the prettiest serving girls on Bleecker Street, my Elena. But don't you get no ideas, eh? She's a good girl and she's going to stay that way, 'til she's married. 

Now she's giving me the evil eye again. You like antipasto? Want to come by for the best you've ever had? Top it off with a nice Chianti, yes? 'Bout seven o'clock.

Lemme know and I'll look out for you. 

Angelo Sorocco
Owner, Ristorante

Antipasto: Paull Young