Ristorante Il Borghetto - The Arcamone Family
The Arcamone family has run Ristorante Il Borghetto now for 12 years. I had the honor to sit down with Mimmo and talk about the restaurant business on the island. As we looked over the Gulf Of Naples drinking vino bianco I learned about the passion and work it takes to run a business on Ischia.
Gregory Kamradt: Can you tell me a little bit about the history of this restaurant?
Mimmo Arcamone: Yeah, the restaurant is 12 years old. A lot of work has been put in by my brothers and my father. This was an old winery from the 1700’s and my father, started with nothing to build this. He asked my brothers and I to help this restaurant. I did not believe him when he first asked me to do it ha, but now I have to say that we are doing well and many people come here to visit us and test our cooking. So my father cooks rabbit but in his special way, he has 40 years of experience.
GK: Are your brothers still here?
MA: Yes, so my brother and my mother. We believe that this restaurant is successful because of family, the passion of the family. We see who can make the better dishes than the other.
GK: Why is the food quality so high here?
MA: Well, in Ischia we have seasonal food, sometimes we make fish and sometimes we make meat. Red meat and mushrooms. But we use very fresh ingredients.
GK: When is the busiest time of the year for you?
MA: We have a lot of Ischiatani guests, so the winter is busy, but then in the summer it is also busy with all of the tourists. A lot of Russian guests come.
GK: What is your favorite dish?
MA: At this moment? I would say the muscles and zucchini dish.
GK: And then do you make pizza as well?
MA: Ah, well there is a choice by my family to not make pizza. My family, we can make many other dishes but we choose not to make pizza, we make bruschetta well.
GK: I love bruschetta, why is it so good?
MA: Because it is a simple dish but made with the fresh tomatoes, oil, and bread from the island.
GK: What have you learned about running a business through this restaurant?
MA: You need to run a restaurant with passion. But there is a ton of work.
GK: What is the plan for the restaurant?
MA: Last year we decided to repair another part of the restaurant, an old church, now it is a service hall for private parties. We are still thinking about the next plan for the restaurant.
GK: Is there any advice that you would give to anyone opening a restaurant?
MA: Yes, there are many people who think that opening a restaurant is the life and there is so much money to be made, this is not true. Because there is so much work and passion needed. You will spend a lot of time away from your family. And you do a lot of work for a little bit of money.
As we started to wine down the interview I got a tour of the new part of the restaurant that was recently restored. We walked into a private church on the estate and found ourselves in a beautifully laid out hall. We continued to walk around the property finally finishing on the front porch hill with a glass of wine. The brothers said a few more stories and I thought I could get used to that life.