KILLAPSEE, NY –
A local family finally opened their dream restaurant in downtown Killapsee on Tuesday to share their grandma’s home cooking with the rest of the world, before promptly shutting it down forever Tuesday night vowing never to return.
“This was all a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake,” said Joe Mermanucci, one of four Mermanucci brothers, and chef of the now-defunct restaurant.
“I can’t begin to tell you how big of a disaster this has been for all of us. This is worst thing that has ever happened to the family. It’s a catastrophe. And what makes it even worse is, we were so sure ‘Delusionals’ was going to be a hit.”
Growing up in a working-class neighborhood, the Mermanucci family had long cherished the recipes of their Italian-Swedish grandmother, Olga Mermanucci. After years of talking about it, they finally opened “Delusionals,” a restaurant whose menu reflected the time-honored cuisine of their youth.
“Our grandmother was very experimental in the kitchen. She had grown up eating both Italian and Swedish food, and as she got older, she started mixing the two together for us. Dishes like “Lutefisk Tortellini”, and “Fish Egg Gnocchi” were served to us starting when we were very young. We just thought they were normal and assumed that everyone would love them as much as we did.”
Lutefisk Tortellini Not A Hit
“People really, really did not like our grandmother’s cooking. When they started eating it for the first time this morning, some of them gagged. There were choking sounds. It was horrible,” Joe Mermanucci said, shaking his head. “Most of them could not even bring themselves to finish their food.”
“People actually were running out of the restaurant complaining of the smell. I saw a woman vomit on the curb as another couple was walking up to the door. And these were mostly friends and family. I can just imagine what members of the general public were thinking.”
By 7 PM, the brothers realized they had made a grievous error, and decided to close the restaurant down immediately.
Grandma Always Busy In The Kitchen
Thinking back on what went wrong, the brothers admit they may have missed some red flags.
“I actually don’t remember grandma eating much, or any, of her own cooking really,” said Serge, the second oldest. “We always thought she was just too busy in the kitchen to eat, but even in the kitchen I never saw her taste anything.”
“I guess the warning signs were there if we’d been paying attention. But that’s 20-20 hindsight.”
‘Delusionals’ – The Dream
When asked about the origin of the name of the restaurant, youngest brother Knute shrugged his shoulders. “My wife, Loretta, came up with ‘Delusionals’ one night after a couple glasses of wine. She loved it so much, she sent the art over to the printers the next morning without even telling anyone, and by two pm they had printed up 1,000 menus, all our business cards, and screen printed the awning out front.”
“She liked the name because it sounded dreamy but also kind of classy, and wanted to surprise us with it. Anyway, we didn’t have the cash to reprint everything, so we went with it.”
Will Take Years To Recover
“We had no idea how expensive this was going to be. This was madness,” said Sven Mermanucci, the eldest of the four brothers and restaurant’s book-keeper. “I mean, practically everything in here was an expenditure we had not planned on – the lighting fixtures, the carpet, the counter and bar stools.”
“If I were to describe our initial understanding of the costs involved in opening a new restaurant,” he said, sitting in the now-closed dining room, “the words I would use are: shockingly unprepared.”
A Door Closes And A Window Opens
Despite the disappointment of having lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, the entrepreneurial spirit carried on in the Mermanuccis.
“The silver lining, if there is one, is that Loretta’s Uncle Joe has always put on these terrific Fourth of July displays using his homemade fireworks every year,” Knute Mermanucci said. “So, since we have a 5-year lease on this building, the family has decided to convert the restaurant into a fireworks factory. We’re going to call it ‘Explosions’. Everyone is totally on board and we’re going to start tomorrow.”
Loretta Mermanucci was already busy leading the charge, ordering printing of the labels for the new high-powered handmade fireworks. Undeterred by the failure of the family restaurant, she was excited for what the future holds.
“Explosions is going to be huge,” she said.
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