As the coronavirus crisis continues to impact businesses around South Africa, popular restaurant Casalinga Ristorante Italiano in Muldersdrift has permanently shut its doors and entered liquidation.
A letter confirming the news read: “It is with a heavy heart that we write to you to inform you that Casalinga Ristorante Italiano, after more than three decades of serving customers, is sadly being placed under liquidation.
“The business has been struggling financially over the last few years and although we were hopeful that the business would turn around, the economic impact of Covid-19 has placed the company in a position where it is factually insolvent and we will not be able to continue trading to meet its mounting debt obligations.”
Casalinga was founded by Peter and Jenny De Luca in 1989 when they extended their Muldersdrift home to create a traditional Italian restaurant with a country feel.
The couple designed and built the beautiful rustic building themselves, using historic hardwood pieces, tiles, artefacts and stained glass windows reclaimed from demolished houses on the Randfontein Gold Mining estate.
The restaurant was a sought-after wedding venue and renowned for its Sunday buffets. Over the past 30 years, it received numerous awards and accolades, including Best Sunday Lunch and Most Romantic Restaurant.
Casalinga shared a Facebook message from one of its customers who got married at the venue.
“Casalinga was a part of my life and I will never forget the wonderful feeling I always got when I entered your kingdom and enjoyed your amazing hospitality.
“Our family had so many memorable celebrations there. Your Casalinga has become part of my wonderful memories, a special place, an institution, run by special friends, an oasis of tranquillity against all odds in an ocean of an all-embracing brutal, destructive reality.”
Several other people expressed their sadness at the unexpected news and thanked the restaurant for their hospitality and wished the couple success in their future endeavours.
From birthdays and weddings to dinners for overseas guests and anniversaries, many reminisced about the memorable celebrations they experienced.
“Casalinga Italian restaurant has gone into liquidation. 31 years in business and poof, just like that… gone. When I look at the number of restaurants closing down, my heart breaks for the staff who can no longer provide for their families,” said Evelyn Hoy.
In a Facebook post, Casalinga confirmed that Leafy Greens Cafe has taken over the restaurant space.