Mom's Italian Village: R.I.P.
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Once upon a time Santa Barbara had a thriving Little Italy, and Mom's Italian Village was its heart and soul.
Nearby was the Italian-French Bakery, Vior's Bakery (with its massive brick oven and big round sourdough loaves), the Italian Market (in its original storefront location), and Arnoldi's (where Parliamo meets, just about the only remnant of Little Italy that lingers on).
Mom herself presided over her domain like a queen, her throne a stool at the head of the bar. This writer recalls telling her once how much he enjoyed her establishment. Mom put her arm around him and asked, "Do you know the secret of a long life?" "No, Mom, what's the secret?" "Eat lots of pasta," intoned Mom seriously, revealing the secret of eternal youth,"Eat lots of pasta."
Inside were wall murals, a stage with momentos left by the WWII soldiers Mom befriended, the bar made from a huge single plank of mahogony, and red booths filled with people scarfing down big portions of inexpensive spaghetti. It was a great place for a romantic first date.
Mom's opened in 1933 and closed in 1995, a venerable run of 62 years. It was reincarnated for a while as a gay club, then as Cominichi's.
Mom's was recently unceremoniously bulldozed into oblivion, a victim of a non-profit's expansion of transient housing, with no apparent thought given to the Santa Barbara history that was being crushed into dust, to vanish in the sands of time. There wasn't a peep about this loss in the local press.
More memories of Mom's here.
CAFE LINGUA LANGUAGE SCHOOL: Parliamo's Ruggero (Roger), formerly with Berlitz, has started his own business teaching English to foreigners. He'd appreciate referals to 8O5-259-5545.