Italian restaurant savors success in bustling historic district of Tianjin – Xinhua English.news.cn
Photo taken on July 25, 2022 shows Renato Pegoraro working at his restaurant in the historic Italian-style district of north China’s Tianjin Municipality. (Xinhua/Li Ran)
TIANJIN, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) — Located in the heart of northern China’s Tianjin Municipality, Renato Pegoraro’s family restaurant was teeming with diners as the sun went down and the city lights came on .
Opened in 2007, the restaurant is well known for serving authentic Italian cuisine prepared with ingredients mostly imported directly from Italy. The restaurant’s popularity with locals and tourists alike is bolstered by its location in the historic Italian-style area of the port city’s Hebei district.
Despite the temporary COVID-19 induced closures over the past two years, the restaurant is doing well and has stocked enough liquor, cheese and meat to address potential logistical issues.
Along with other local businesses in the area, Pegoraro’s has weathered the tough times with the help of the local government.
“Thanks to the rent-free policy, I have been able to focus on developing new dishes because I don’t have to worry about operating costs,” Pegoraro said.
The 73-year-old Italian entrepreneur moved to Tianjin in 2004 to venture into international business. As a history buff, he immediately fell in love with the Haihe Riverside area designed by an Italian architect over a century ago.
The 28-hectare neighborhood features European-style buildings all along its streets, including a public square with an iconic bell tower in the middle. Some early 20th century Chinese celebrities also lived there.
“This neighborhood is so Italian. It feels like my hometown,” Pegoraro said, explaining the driving force behind establishing his restaurant in Tianjin.
The Tianjin municipal government has worked hard in recent years to transform the area into a commercial hub with unique exotic charm and a center of high-end service industries, making Tianjin city home to more than 13 million people, even more dynamic.
“Based on the cultural characteristics and strong commercial presence here, we will make the area more attractive to younger generations and roll out policies conducive to start-up incubation,” said Xu Gang, district Party secretary. from Hebei to Tianjin.
Infrastructure and public services in the area have been improved, creating more open spaces to walk around and beautifying the place with greenery and flowers.
Businesses like the one in Pegoraro are booming. Many young people flock to the New Cinema Paradiso themed restaurant to enjoy Italian wine while watching classic Italian movies.
“We hold events like a China-Italian culture week and exhibitions showcasing Italian products and fashion to attract more customers,” restaurant manager Li Bin said, adding that bookings have increased as the epidemic was diminishing.
In cooperation with the Italian Embassy in China and the Tianjin Film Studio, the management committee of the Italian style zone is considering the introduction of higher-end cultural projects, according to Liu Zongjin, director of the committee.
For example, former residences of celebrities have been restored for tourism. A famous bookstore chain popular on social media will soon open an outlet in the area, Liu said.
In July, this area was listed as a national hotspot for night culture and tourism consumption by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The news delighted Pegoraro and his son Gabriele, who also manages the restaurant, as they are both convinced that the city and this region are ready to develop.
The restaurant has also launched its official page on the WeChat messaging app, where information about Italian wine and food culture can be found.
“I consider Tianjin my second home, and I will do my best to make this century-old block a more charming place,” Pegoraro said. ■