The emblematic place of Villa D’Oro plans to make the last year a great year | Illawarra Mercury

community, food, Villa D’Oro, functions

Following the announcement that the Villa D’Oro site has been sold by the owner and will be reassigned, General Manager Claude Guido said the reception venue will continue to hold events until the end of 2022. Mr. Guido said all events booked for next year will take place. and Villa D’Oro’s take-out and catering services will continue. December 3 marks 20 years since Mr. Guido, his wife Maria Guido and his business partner and brother-in-law John Cicero bought the company from Mario and Sam Barnava, but plans for a celebration with current and former staff have been pushed back due to COVID-19. Read more: Wollongong winemaker helps homeless youth in Hunter. But for now, he’s been focused on making the most of the year that the Villa D’Oro team have left. “We, like all of our valued customers, are saddened by this announcement, but it also means a new chapter for Villa D’oro and our company,” he said. “We look forward to celebrating the next year of events and special occasions with our customers and continuing to do what we love.” Mr. Guido is considered by many to be an icon of Illawarra in the hospitality industry, but it is said that running a successful business for so many years requires loyal support from the community. “I have amazing clients,” he said. “Some people have held all of their family events here and some corporate clients have held all of their business events here. And a lot of my staff, especially in the kitchen, have been with me from day one.” One of the secrets to Villa D’Oro’s success has been customers and guests always knowing what they are going to get. “You can’t do this without the right people working for you,” Mr. Guido said. His own career began in the late 1970s at the Fraternity Club. At 19, he ran a restaurant that could seat up to 350 people upstairs. “When I was 17, I did an apprenticeship at the Fraternity Club,” said Mr. Guido. “My bosses were Giovanni and Lola Comelli and I learned from two special people.” My love of food came from my mother. “Mr. Guido’s parents, Antonio and Giovanna Guido, emigrated to Australia before he was born and opened a store in Corrimal After 18 months at The Frat the Comelli’s retired and asked to take over the management of the restaurant upstairs. “It put me but it put me on the path to a great love of food, catering and functions,” he said. asked if he would like to work at Mimmo’s restaurant, which he did for three years before returning to The Frat for four years. He also dabbled in catering before managing Portofino from 1993 to 2001. Mr. Guido was 40 “I always wanted to have my own reception center,” said Guido. “It’s the dream I’ve always had. All I ever wanted to do was organize events, make people happy and provide good quality food. I think we got there. “Mr. Guido said that after four decades in the hospitality industry, the last 18 months have certainly been the toughest.” With the first lockdown, I think we all got scared “he said.” We didn’t really do it. know too much about what was to happen to our business. Ms. Guido suggested that her husband offer lasagna and cannelloni to go. So he kept the kitchen open to produce the food enjoyed by Villa D’Oro customers. “One of the things COVID has taught us is to improvise,” Guido said. “Government support was also important last year. “Then the functions started happening pretty quickly from around June. Villa D’Oro had an extensive take-out menu at the time of the second lockdown in mid-2021, which Guido said was significant as the impact on business was much worse than last year. He said bookings are starting to return now, but it will be some time before customers confidently book business meetings and weddings again. Mr Guido believes business will pick up in the new year and expects 2022 to be particularly busy for weddings. He thinks that the biggest challenge then will be to find enough staff. Mr Guido does not yet know what he will do in 2023. He said there are already a few options but he has not made any decisions. “If I can’t find the right place, I won’t go to events for fun,” he said. “This must be the right place. If I don’t open a new one, I will definitely be doing take out and catering. It might be in a cafe, but I don’t know at this time.” The Illawarra Mercury Newsroom is funded by our readers. You can sign up to support our journalism here.


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