Dinner concerts and more
Toarmina runs Mangiamo Italian Grill with his two sisters and all three of their spouses. The restaurant recently celebrated two years in business. Even back when it first opened, Toarmina had dreams of repairing, restoring, and renovating the smoke-damaged upper stories of the nearly 140-year-old building. He imagined a vast banquet space on the second floor for parties and weddings with plenty of space for live music. Above that, on the third floor, he pictured luxury lofts and maybe even a dinner theater. The third-floor dreams will have to wait awhile. But, after months of sweat and hard labor, the second floor is restored. Toarmina toiled for months removing soot-covered plaster from the walls, followed by more than 200 hours of wire-brushing the exposed brick. He and his son installed pristine three-quarter-inch tongue-and-groove hardwood oak floors throughout. There's a bar, plus two brand-new modern bathrooms.
Customers enter through Mangiamo on the first floor and ascend a custom-built wide wooden staircase. Upstairs, a short hallway connects the two vast, newly restored 2,000-square-foot rooms. They've been available for private parties and weddings since just after New Year's, but Toarmina knew he needed to think of other options to cover his costs. When he met Jim Cain, a guy already savvy at booking musicians and promoting the acts, it was a win-win.