Owner of local restaurant opened amid pandemic grateful for response

Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 6:02 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - An authentic Italian restaurant opened in Waco in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic is booming

Di Campli's Italian Ristorante opened its doors July 1 amid ever-changing rules and restrictions on restaurants and tightening purse strings, but the owner, Massimo Di Campli, 36, says pandemic or not, business is good.

"It's been exciting first weeks for us," Di Campli said.

"We are so thankful for all the guests we've had."

For the restaurateur the opening of the business is a lifelong dream come true.

Di Campli grew up in Italy watching his parents cook as a young boy.

He attended Fratelli De Cecco Culinary School in Pescara, Italy, graduating under the same head of school as his father and opened his first restaurant, a pizza place, when he was 21 in his hometown of Penne.

Two years later, a customer recruited him to move to Dubai to be a supervisor at a restaurant there.

Di Campli's adventures then took him to the Cayman Islands where he managed another restaurant.

That’s where he met his wife, Kristen Rash, a 1999 Midway High School graduate from Waco, in a chance encounter at a beach volleyball game.

By 2017 he moved to Waco and worked at Magnolia Table but always dreamed of having his own place.

He began the construction before COVID hit but never looked back.

Di Campli says the community has turned out big to support him and his family.

"We are surprised of the reaction of this beautiful community," he said. "We were expecting to be busy because as a new restaurant, a new concept coming in town there was a lot of excitement but we were really surprised for the response."

Di Campli says he created the restaurant with not only date-nights in mind, but business gatherings and families too and so far many families have returned multiple times.

The menu is vast but Di Campli says the most popular?

"Wine, pasta, fresh seafood, ribeye and tenderloin," he said.

The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

The also serve brunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.

While not currently requiring reservations Di Campli says to ensure you have a seat, especially in the evenings, it's a good idea.

“We highly recommend it,” Di Campli said. “We are just super, super thankful.”

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