‘Insufficient work to sustain it’

‘Insufficient work to sustain it’


Avondale – The owners of Avondale Pesolino turned the Italian restaurant into a market in 2020 to survive the pandemic.

The hub was a success at the time, but in the end it wasn’t enough to save the small business.

Italian Pissolino Market The owners announced on social media this week a seven-year closure of Belmont Avondale Street. The last working day for the Italian market is September 25th.

Pisolino’s co-owner Rachel DiMarti said she’s hosting a 3-7 p.m. pizza party on September 25 with deeply discounted groceries as “a final episode,” and to thank her customers for their support.

De Mart said Pisolino struggled with foot traffic before the pandemic, and “the battle resumed once the world opened up again and people had a lot of options.”

The hub, she said, “was our saving grace, but at this point none of it—whatever her combination—if it’s just eating at the market, or the pick-up, or the market—there isn’t enough business to sustain it.”

De Marte, who also owns and operates her own event planning company, opened Pisolino at 2755 W. Belmont Ave. With her ex-husband, James De Mart, in 2016. James De Mart is an Italian chef.

Pisolino served rustic Italian cuisine and drinks, including Pugliese style pizza, paninos breakfast and quartino wine.

In the summer of 2020, a few months after the city shut down to the pandemic, the owners switched gears and turned the restaurant into an Italian market with imported groceries, takeaways, and a deli table.

Related: Avondale turns into a Pisolino Italian market with wine, pasta, olive oil and more

Rachel de Mart said the concept has been “really good” for a while. She added that customers were placing large catering orders to help the company weather the pandemic.

“We will load the SUVs with orders,” she said. “It really helped through that. While there was a struggle, there was work going on during that struggle.”

But Di Martí said that when that business waned, Pisolino struggled to attract the number of clients he needed to stay open.

Di Martí said that while Pisolino received relief from programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, it wasn’t enough to cover all of her expenses. She said large restaurant groups have been able to make millions of dollars through government programs, while small business owners have been left to suffer.

“All that big money went to the big restaurant groups. This is where I really find fault with,” de Mart said. “They get a lot, and they are big groups so they really have a lot of support, and the little ones aren’t. To see it customized that way – that was probably the craziest thing about the whole process.”

Either way, DeMart said Pisolino has run out of his way, and it’s time to move on. Once the market closes, she said, she plans to put all her energy into her event-planning company, which is booming.

De Mart said Avondale was ultimately a “challenging” neighborhood for an upscale Italian restaurant and market, and the concept might have been more appropriate for a neighborhood like Lincoln Park.

“The [customers] It was a phenomenon — there just weren’t enough of them,” said Rachel de Mart. “It is bittersweet. … nothing lasts forever. “

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