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The Santa Ramona Chronicles

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Vesuvio's, feast not famine.

The casual atmosphere of a family home, it seems so far removed from what we would expect from a party hosted at a business in the heart of the city but it’s exactly what people got at Vesuvio’s on New Years Eve. Whether in full gowns and white tie, button downs with rolled sleeves, or soft bare skin and chilled nips all were welcome at the Italian ball drop pre-game hosted by Julia Ruggieri, the new owner of the illustrious Vesuvio’s on Shady Street.

With a New Year comes new opportunity, be it following a line of mistaken assumption and chasing the suggestion of “coupling” with the handsome escort for a New Years party, getting a gym membership that I’m confident will pay off this year for those of us who brave that storm, or taking the helm of a much loved restaurant with bold new Ideas. Before this party I had the chance to sit with Miss Ruggieri and talk to her about what Vesuvio’s meant to her and what she might hope it would mean to the community, there was a lot of the usual talk of hopes and dreams and where things went from here.

As she sat with a glass of red and a coy smile I posed my questions, her answers were smooth, natural and as pleasing as the sight of her. I asked why she would choose to run a restaurant and suffer the stress of a bar and heat of a kitchen when she could enjoy the sun and sand, and she played it off as a dating game. “My mother told me to find a good man, Mister Masatada. My Grandmother told me the quickest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It only seemed natural.”

The more we spoke the more it became clear that family was not just a tired line to be thrown to catch customers for Vesuvio’s but an honest and large part of Julia’s life. When I suggested that some people might laugh off the “guests are family” theme so many places play to these days Julia told me that through Vesuvio’s she already had plans to reach out to the Hostel, and was working with a local homeless shelter to distribute anything leftover at the end of a night that could not be saved, though she admitted that she and her Head Chef Mallory were purposefully heavy handed in prep because of this. She also added that they did not judge ones past when seeking employment and welcomed anyone no matter their history with open arms. With a small shrug she said, “Honestly, it’s not for me to answer, it’s for the community to come experience and judge for themselves."