While several Little Italy restaurants have closed in recent years, others are taking root or making changes in this still vibrant community.
Germano's has changed its name to Germano's Piattini to reflect a more casual atmosphere and a menu of gourmet small plates by new executive chef Peter Perrone, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
Dishes include a selection of cured meats, cheeses, olives, and vegetables as well as grilled mini pizzas and piattine (small plates) like porchetta, various pastas, branzino, and carpaccio.
In addition to wine, Germano's Piattini—billing itself as a contemporary Italian kitchen and bar—will also offer beers by the bottle and a rotating selection of craft brews.
Cyd Wolf, who owns the restaurant with her husband chef Germano Fabiani, says renovations are just about complete in a makeover of the restaurant that includes a "fabulous gastro pub." Cabaret performances will still continue.
Meanwhile, a South High Street neighbor, Caesar's Den, closed its doors last Sunday. Owners Tina and Guido DeFranco posted a heartfelt goodbye on Caesar's Facebook page, saying:
"We arrive at a time to say 'Arrivederci.' After almost 44 years of serving you our best variety of southern Italian food and Italian wine, we've made the decision to retire and celebrate the fruits of our labors."
In recent years, several neighborhood restaurants have closed, including Della Notte, Rocco's Capriccio, and Milan. But others, like Mug's Bistro and a new Caribbean restaurant in the old India Rasoi space, have opened to create new energy.
As Germano's says on its website: "The secret to longevity is the ability to adapt to a changing world and nobody does it better than the Italians."