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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, May 30, 2017 1 year ago

Virgola celebrates one-year anniversary of raw food and Italian wine

The downtown restuarant recently added pizzettes to their menu.
by: Emily Blackwood News Editor

While the usual family dinner might consist of a big home-cooked meal, for Robyn Capece it was going to the local wine and cheese shop every Friday night with her father. 

"He would let me pick out the cheese, and he'd grab a baguette for my mom, and that would be dinner," she said. "It wasn't a traditional dinner in America, but it was ours." 

As an adult, the Flagler Beach resident jumped at the opportunity to bring to Ormond Beach the kind of food she grew up eating. She recently celebrated her one-year anniversary of owning Virgola, an Italian wine bar that serves lighter meals like fresh raw oysters, ceviche, crudo, caviar, salads, salumi, and of course, imported Italian cheeses just like the ones Capece used to pick out with her dad. 

Even though the restaurant is in a prime location at 63 W. Granada Blvd., Capece says marketing has been the biggest struggle.

"We're using every tool we can and figuring out what works, but we get people who are local who say they didn't hear about Virgola until now," she said. "Still, we're so excited to meet people who are trying us out for the first time. I know the menu can be intimidating for some, but every time someone tries it, they rave."

As a new business, Capece says Virgola has really been tested. Hurricane Matthew hit right when Virgola was entering its fifth month of business, and thousands of dollars in food was lost. 

"We had to throw everything out because the building lost power," she said. "We were closed for two weeks, and business was slow in the weeks following because the town was essentially devastated. Everyone was working on their homes and repairing their own situations. No one was going out for a nice dinner."

While it may have been the biggest struggle yet, Capece believes she came out on top and stronger than ever. 

"We saw a lot of restaurants lose a lot, and that was tough," she said. "But I think as a community we're resilient. I knew going in we're a niche, and maybe not everyone would take to us, so I felt like we had something to prove coming out of the gate. And I think we have." 

Capece and her team at Virgola are going into their second year with a new menu item, pizzettes and by hosting more events, like their one-year anniversary dinner featuring a five-course meal for $75. The event will be held at 6:30 p.m. June 1. Call 492-5490 for reservation information. 

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