Nine months after they officially opened their doors, La Verona of Kennett Square held a grand opening party last Thursday evening to celebrate a different milestone.
After months of negotiating with the state, co-owners Ari, Sam and Jack Mavraj finally received their liquor license this month, bringing an essential component back to Kennett Square's burgeoning nightlife scene.
'I think that Kennett was lacking this kind of gathering place, with the Flash right here,' she said. 'We're really happy they're here and that they made it through that trying time without their liquor license.'
Hutchins said that the license was tied up in post-bankruptcy litigation since Newton's closed last year.
'It was really just a matter of untying that knot,' she said.
'We got a lot of support from the neighborhood, so it worked out,' said Ari Mavraj.
And what does finally securing the license mean for La Verona?
'Great success!' Ari said. 'You can see, we're all smiling.'
Co-owner and head chef Jack Mavraj said that, with 15 years experience working in one of Manhattan's top restaurants, he brings traditional Italian cuisine to life at La Verona.
When asked about his signature dishes, Jack cited his Tagliattele la Verona, with scallops, shrimp, zucchini, tomato and fresh mozzarella, and roasted baby artichokes as two popular favorites.
'The bronzino, which is a Mediterranean sea bass, is also very good and very popular,' he said. 'It's delicious.'
He added that his years in New York, learning at some of the top restaurants on Long Island, fostered his love for food and cooking.
Borough council member Leon Spencer said that Kennett Square continues to shine as a destination spot for foodies and people looking for that unique small town atmosphere.
'It's certainly the place to be. This town is amazing,' he said. 'I continue to hear from people how much they love our town.'
Since opening last fall, La Verona has expanded its outside seating capability by adding a temporary deck outside in Apple Alley between La Verona and Begbuggs.
They then added a series of planters created out of shipping palates, designed and built by Rob Jerger of Home and Garden Culture, that are lined with flowers and fresh herbs and line the border of the new patio.
The stone and concrete structure is technically temporary, according to borough manager Brant Kucera, adding that even though it sits in the right of way, it doesn't restrict access to anything essential.
'If a water main breaks and we have to get under there we won't have any problem,' he said. 'The Christmas tree will just move a few feet over.'
He added that the increased outside seating was also part of the original deal with the restaurant's new owners.
La Verona is located at 114 E. State Street in downtown Kennett Square.