“Company is Coming! Marco continued...
Sunday came quickly. I knew 6:00 and the arrival of Marco Baldieri, his wife and nephew would be fast upon us.
Remembering when I was young… to hear the cry, “Company is coming!” meant get to cleaning. My siblings and I would wind up giant imaginary keys on our backs and kick it in to high gear preparing our home for guests. Owning a restaurant feels like “Company is coming!” every day. Being here… more than anywhere else these days… it’s like home. I always say, “God’s in charge of invitations. He knows who is coming, how many are in their party, exactly what time they will arrive and what they will eat. It is our job to be ready.
Marco of Marco Ristorante Italiano, his wife and their nephew Fredo came through the little red door at Geppetto’s shortly before six. I had run around straightening, sweeping and wiping down the things I thought a world renowned chef and restaurateur might notice. I greeted them as they sat and saw to it Fredo, a very handsome Italian man, probably in his mid to late twenties, had a Kids Menu and four fresh crayons for coloring. That act drew a good laugh and we were off to a great start.
It was hard not to hover. I wanted so badly to know what they thought. I fought the urge to visit their table until they were finished with their meal. Fredo tried Geppetto’s Crispy Italian Chicken. As he shrugged his shoulders and tilted his head to one side he said, “It was good.” Then he correctly guessed one of the secret ingredients in our Crispy Chicken batter. Hmm… perhaps it wasn’t the right dish for him. Alas, you can’t please all of the people all the time.
Marco’s wife tried the Caesar salad and said she enjoyed the added sautéed shrimp. She smiled and seemed genuinely excited as she held up one of Geppetto’s Sesame Breadsticks. She said she loved them. “Really, I asked?” Thinking maybe she was joking. If you know Geppetto’s Sesame Breadsticks… you know they are about the size and shape of the average index finger. They are hard and crunchy, served standing tall, five or six to a water glass, with our house made whipped garlic butter. When I realized she was serious about enjoying them I told her, “I like them too! And, I said, if we ever run out of them there is hell to be paid! The people who love them, love them and miss them when they’re gone.”
Marco had ordered Geppetto’s thin crust pizza, 1/2 Mushroom, 1/2 pepperoni.
“What did you think?” I asked.
“I have to admit, Marco said, as he sat back and rubbed his stomach with both hands. “That was a gooood pizza… a really gooood pizza. One of the best I’ve ever had.”
Yay! He liked our pizza! Victory is mine! Still, he doesn’t care for our meat sauce because, “It’s too thick.” He also noted “Some people like it that way.” To which I replied, Yes, in fact, it seems, lots of people.” (wink)
Fredo’s heart was won with Geppetto’s Chocolate Nut Torta. I’m pretty sure I heard him say it was, “Bomb.” That made Marty, a thirty-year Geppetto’s employee, feel good knowing his dessert had beaten Alonzo’s house made Cannoli… this time.
Blessings to Marco, his family and restaurants. I’ve decided. Your place is like vacation. Our place… is like home. You are welcome anytime.
(Photo Credit to
, Fluffy) 503.378.1271
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Sunday - Thursday 11:30am - 8:30pm
Friday & Saturday 11:30am - 9:30pm
616 Lancaster Dr NE | Salem, OR 97301