Mon09012014

Business & Real Estate

A little more elbow room : Expansion at State Street's Pompeii Ristorante nearly complete


Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Pompeii Ristorante currently has a 46-seat capacity in its main dining room. Co-owner Gilbert Gutierrez, pictured, plans to add more than 20 seats by expanding into the space next door.

A project nearly two years in the making is about to cross the finish line.

Gabriel and Felipe Gutierrez, owners of Pompeii Ristorante at 100 State St., told the Town Crier last week that work to expand their popular Italian eatery is nearing completion. Barring any unforeseen problems, the brothers plan to open the additional dining area no later than Valentine’s Day.

News of the restaurant’s addition came in March 2012 after the duo opted for a larger restaurant area and leased the former home of Donut Du Jour at 108 State St., next to Pompeii.

The expansion will add more than 20 seats to the restaurant’s existing 46-seat dining area. Pompeii also offers 30-plus outdoor patio seats – added space that is frequently unavailable during the cold and rainy seasons.

“It will mean being able to do more things and (accommodate) more customers – and that’s good. We like that,” Felipe said.

He added that the impetus behind the expansion was simple – to more efficiently serve customers who would otherwise be forced to wait 30 to 45 minutes for a table in the restaurant’s main dining area.

The duo attributed the duration of the nearly two-year project to several factors, including the city’s lengthy approval process for the expansion plan and the time needed for renovations, which began in earnest in September.

Gabriel said the added space would allow them to accommodate larger parties during lunch and dinner. In addition to more tables and shorter wait times for customers, the new space will also provide a larger work area for the employees and a second restroom for patrons.

“It’s going to help a lot,” said Gabriel, who along with Felipe opened Pompeii at the corner of Fourth and State streets approximately seven years ago. “Everything just looks bigger. It’s going to be easier to do a lot of things, like storing more inventory.”

The Gutierrez brothers are quick to express their gratitude for the support – and patience – they’ve received from regular customers during the 23 months needed to complete the project. After all, they noted, the restaurant’s expansion is ultimately the result of a growing and loyal customer base.

“Every day we’d have customers who would ask, ‘When are you going to open next door?’” Gabriel said. “We really do have good customers, and they make us feel like we’re family. It’s like they’ve known us forever.”

For more information, visit pompeii- ristorante.com.

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