The tables are set! Every single fork, knife, water and wine glass, bread plate, salt and pepper shaker, napkin, candle and flower vase are perfectly placed on pure white, hand-ironed tablecloths. Chairs are as close to the tables as they should be, apart from each other as they should be. Waiters meticulously yet nervously peer at and adjust their tables insuring opening night is perfect.
Joseph Di Blasi, recently 34 years of age, husband and father, paces randomly around the set dining room, looking for mistakes, and not obvious ones. Details are his thing, proof can be found in his everyday black and white photographs he enjoys taking when he isn’t busy making sure his guests are having the best times of their lives. He doesn’t need a ruler, his rule of thumb can’t be surpassed by others in his field; his Great Horned Owl-like eyesight misses nothing, even in the already dimly lit dining room about to open to a flourish of exuberant guests, mostly from across the Brooklyn Bridge. Time to light the candles. Joseph’s mood is part excitement, but mostly fear. He takes a deep breath, cherishing this moment. His mind is perfectly at ease now, he just hopes all goes according to his plan.
The Champagne greets his guests upon their arrival. A grand dinner perfectly cooked and served follows, all topped off with dancing in the adjoining Palm Room. Drinks served long into the night! His pre-prohibition “Jack’s Manual on the Vintage and Production, Care and Handling of Wines, Liquors, Etc. A Handbook of Information for Home, Club, or Hotel: Recipes for Fancy Mixed Drinks and When and How to Serve,” coupled with his guest’s smiles, sets him slightly more at ease. Everything is going to be just fine.
Cheers to you Grandpa, from an empty whisky glass on the 71st anniversary (18th of May, 1940), of you opening Di Blasi’s Italian American Restaurant at 1169 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. I really wish I coulda been there that night.