Vail purchase creates buzz in business industry
By Katy Savage
LUDLOW—A new Italian eatery is set to open next week.
La Tavola Ristorante will be open on Route 100 with an extensive wine list, full bar, authentic Italian menu and lounge.
The owners, Fernando and Soa Uva, and manager Tony Lavalle run Tavola’s in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Rhode Island and Florida in addition to the new Vermont location.
“We’re like restaurant gypsies,” said LaValle. “We like to adapt and get into the town. We’re all here.”
This is the latest in a series of restaurants that have opened in Ludlow recently.
Sam’s Steakhouse reopened in July after Mark Williams, the owner of Mr. Darcy’s restaurant next door, purchased the building.
Du Jour VT, which features an American menu, opened on Pond Street mid-July.
Mama’s, another Italian restaurant, opened last year and Harry’s Cafe is scheduled to reopen in nearby Mount Holly this fall.
There has been excitement in the Ludlow area with the announcement that Vail Resorts will purchase Okemo Mountain Resort.
“With the Vail purchase,it was attracting,” said LaValle. “I know the kind of power a corporation brings.”
LaValle didn’t make the decision to open a restaurant in Ludlow solely because of Vail, but some, like LaValle, are anticipating a bump in visitors with Vail’s well-honed marketing team and season pass availability.
“As a new business, it’s good timing for us,” said Du Jour VT owner Desiree Guicia. “Hopefully we see a lot of money rolling down the hill.”
Vail is expected to close on the purchase of Okemo and its sister mountains, Crested Butte in Colorado and Mount Sunapee in New Hampshire this week for $82 million.
“It’s always good when you can offer variety,” said Ludlow Select Board member Bruce Schmidt, who is also vice president and general manager at Okemo. “ I think Ludlow is known for great food.”
Schmidt said it was too soon to tell what impact Vail’s purchase of Okemo and the other mountains would have on Ludlow.
The Tavola building has been through a series of changes. It was Bella Luna Ristorante until that closed about five years ago. Harry’s Cafe owner, Trip Pierce, moved his business from Mount Holly to Ludlow before he closed to go back to Mount Holly.
Uva and his wife Sao Uva are in a two-year purchase agreement for the building.
“We’re trying to feel out the space,” LaVelle said. “Every place is different.”
Both LaValle and Uva are Italian and have been crafting the menu based on meals they’ve made and eaten all their lives. They are used to the pace of business in a resort town.
Uva opened his first restaurant in Cape Cod in 1981, then moved to New York, then Martha’s Vineyard and then Florida around the 1990s. He’s had a restaurant in Provincetown, Rhode Island and Savannah, Georgia.
LaValle brought six of his most dedicated employees, including his top chef from the other restaurants and his main waitstaff. He rented a large house for them within walking distance of the restaurant.
“It’s hard to find employees in a town like this just because they already have a job or don’t live close enough,” said LaValle.
Tyler Jackson, a family friend, moved to Vermont from Florida to wait tables. The surfer and skateboarder plans to try snowboarding while he’s here.
“It’s a huge change of scenery,,” Jackson said.
LaValle plans to close the restaurant if business drops in the summer and re-open in the winter. He plans to have his bar and lounge open until 2 a.m.
He was waiting on a liquor license to announce an opening date.
“Hopefully I can pull the trigger at the end of the season and buy the place,” LaValle said. “We’ll see how it goes.”
By Katy Savage
Owners Fernando Uva, his wife Sao and Tony Lavalle are about to open a new restraunt.