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Built on a Foundation of Trust

The Luchini Family: Lorenzo, Maria, & Elena

The Luchini Family: Lorenzo, Maria, & Elena

by Julie Ngov

“When you are Italian, you are never really independent.”

Familial obligation is an Italian tradition emphasizes Elena Luchini, co-owner of the Ristorante Bar Guazza di Luchini. Elena and her brother, Lorenzo, inherited the business from their parents.

The Luchini family has owned and operated Ristorante Bar, known as “Hospital Bar” to the locals for over 40 years. The family relocated the business from its previous site at the Allergo Hotel to the Hospital Piazza in 1985.

Lorenzo engages the morning patrons with his easy banter and obvious expertise, while Elena enchants the afternoon crowd with her genuine smile. Their mother, Maria Mancini kneads fresh pasta and pastries in the kitchen, constantly infusing the air with the aroma of her fruit-filled desserts. Their father, Fernando Luchini, now retired, sporadically visits to offer unsolicited parental wisdom.

Maria makes fresh gnocchi for the day.

Maria makes fresh gnocchi for the day.

Maria developed her culinary skills as a sous chef at their first restaurant. The current restaurant serves tradition cuisine and is 1 of the 2 restaurants in Cagli participating in the “slow food” movement, utilizing only fresh ingredients from local regions. Elena is currently learning how to make homemade basics, such as pasta, although the process is difficult and time-consuming.

The choice to own a business is undoubtedly a risk-taking endeavor. Prior to owning the restaurant, Maria sewed clothing in a factory, whereas Fernando initially worked as an underwear representative and later in a cheese business. The couple adventured to start the journey of running a restaurant business after getting married. Fernando and Maria worked over 20 hours a day to pay off their restaurant’s bank loan in hope that their jump was worthwhile.

Fernando proudly presents a Dov’e magazine, an Italian travel guide which means “Where”. An article proclaims the restaurant as a recommended place to dine in Cagli. Lorenzo, feigning humility, explains that a mystery diner awarded the restaurant for their great food and service in 1995-1996. Ristorante Bar is now featured in other magazines and guidebooks including the Touring Club and the Italian Academy of Cuisine.

The Luchini’s business provided resources for their children to attend schools and universities of their choice. Elena, the youngest, attended Urbino University for journalism; Lorenzo, the eldest, studied animation; and their middle sibling, Patrizia is currently working in Remini at a travel agency providing tours to the United States of America. After completing their educational goals and military duty (for Lorenzo), Elena and Lorenzo returned home to Cagli to help their mother operate the business when their father fell ill.

There is a saying that one should avoid working with friends or family members at all cost due to its unavoidable strains and struggles. The Luchini family admits that family life is difficult, because of the frequent contact at work and home.

Elena describes, “When you are in discussion at work, you will be in discussion at home later.”

“I’m an angel, but not my sister,” jokes Lorenzo. They all laugh in harmony.

In a situation that could easily have torn the family, the Luchinis believe that their trust in one another and cohesive decision-making process yields “the best and the worst”.

Maria shakes her head left to right, squints, and highlights that she and Fernando had no intention for their children to return home to assist with the business. Even though a part of them is happy to have their children nearby, they insistently voice the desire for them to pursue their personal goals as they prefer, because “although the work is not as hard as layering bricks and building walls, the workload is demanding and we prefer that they take on something less strenuous.” This sentiment is echoed in the voices of their children.

Whether or not Elena and Lorenzo intend to pass on the business, family ties are strong. While each family member possesses individual strengths and goals, they continue to rely on one another. Family is the key ingredient for success at Ristorante Bar Guazza di Luchini.


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