And it now appears Ciccio will be opening with new operators. Go on, guess I’ll wait. The list is really short. For those of you who had Ciccios on your list of the next restaurant space in Yountville to come under the TKRG (Thomas Keller Restaurant Group), you are a winner! Chef Bryant will be moving on to Glen Ellen Star, and I hate to see him go, as my most recent meal at Ciccio was terrific. So then, if the word on the street is correct, the current operator, Frank Altamura, who leases the space, would step aside, meaning TKRG would take over the lease (either sub lease or lease from the building owner).
In It’s A Wonderful Life, we all get a view of what Bedford Falls would be like if Mr. Potter took over and it became Potterville (for those of you who do not understand this reference here are some details and for the love of God, watch the movie; it’s a classic!) It was interesting as I spoke with locals this weekend; they really felt a connection to Ciccio as a neighborhood restaurant. They felt that would be lost. I had that same feeling when Redd Wood closed. And it was lost. There is definitely a shift in Town with our choices for dining out. So read this article about Potterville from It’s A Wonderful Life in Esquire. The author thought Potterville was a better choice than Bedford Falls, but as comments at the end of the article discussed, that is not the case.
I am not saying anyone is “corrupt”; I am saying there is a shift in the Town of Yountville and for its locals as many businesses come under one ownership. As these new businesses play out for TKRG, one may fall by the wayside (Perry Lang’s), and new opportunities for new experiences will be realized. Time and the economy will tell. I, for one, would like a little more Bedford Falls in my Potterville.
This comment came from Carol Fink via email and she agreed to let me post it as a comment:
As I hope you know I’m a great fan of your “column”. The first thing I read on Tuesday. I agree with probably 90 percent of your thoughts, but not about your feelings about Chef Keller. To each his own, for sure, and you did mention one of my favorite hidden treats, the bar at Ad Hoc with parts of the prix fixe menu available. I also love the sandwiches on the weekend at Addendum, chicken, and lobster roll especially. No, he cannot match the prices at the Golf Course restaurant but judging by how busy his restaurants seem to be, be it San Francisco tourists or folks from around the country and the world, his food draws “foodies “ to his restaurants. I recently saw an old Anthony Bourdain visit, maybe his first, and thru tears watching his glee, pure joy, tasting and admiring every bite at the Laundry! He reminded me how a bit jaded we might become though not really. But a meal there displays the hard work he expects of his staff, how meticulously trained they are, and the “finesse” and very hard work he expects of himself. When it comes to generosity to the Town he does donate desserts, and food to events, and when it sed to collecting contributions for auctions was the first to make donations. Closing the TaK room had to be devastating financially and very disappointing. And Covid for him and all his staff terrible! And he does hire a large number of folks in the Town. Again to each his own. I just wanted to put in my thoughts and appreciation. I love being a neighbor of The Laundry!