Opening of a family-run Italian restaurant in the Wittenberg region
Thompson previously owned the “Not Guilty Cafe” restaurant, which had two locations in the Columbus area.
His restaurants were featured in the MuscleMag publication in the 1990s as it promoted popular foods to bodybuilders, athletes, and other members of the fitness community.
“We were one of the first fat-free and low-fat restaurants at the time, so a lot of health enthusiasts came in, mostly bodybuilders and competitive athletes,” he said. “When the best bodybuilders came to town, I would cook a lot of their food and deliver them meals specifically. Rather, it was a healthy dish of good comfort food, but it was low in calories and fat. “
Four years ago he moved to the Springfield area to be closer to his aging parents. He said his mother’s Italian heritage inspired his latest restaurant business.
“My experience on my mother’s side is from Italy,” he said, “and I just have a passion for Italy. I love it. I am in the process of applying for dual nationality. I’m a U.S. citizen, but have been traveling back and forth to Italy every year since 2011 when I started reuniting with my family.
He said the menu items would reflect family recipes and the restaurant’s atmosphere would mirror Italian cafes.
“I came into contact with cousins there that I never knew, and I just tried different recipes that they shared with me,” Thompson said. “It’s more authentic. Since we can’t go there at the moment due to COVID, I wanted to create something here with a bit of the same feel and vibe of a European cafe that you would find, like on the beaches in Italy.
He added that the other inspiration for the restaurant came from the context of the pandemic.
“This is all based on the fact that we are all going through COVID-19, everything being more outward-looking, that’s pretty much what it’s all about, too,” Thompson said. “Everything is outside. The food is prepared outside and it is a bit like a cafe in Italy. We also believe in green, so we will definitely be recycling (materials) a lot.