The message on their answering machine says, "Closed for vacation," but sources close to the scene tell me that one of the West End's most popular restaurants may not reopen. Antico Martini on Somerled Avenue in NDG has been an institution for decades. Specializing in Italian cuisine, it was always one classy spot.
"The last night of business was Saturday, June 22," my very reliable source says. "Thomas Papayanatos owns the building and is the original owner of Antico Martini. We were told he is selling the restaurant and the building. How we found out about this was through the wait staff, whom we've known for many years. It was sad to learn about this and we knew that going the last Saturday would be too emotional, thus we last dined there on Saturday, June 15. It was emotional saying goodbye to Carlos the chef and the wait staff whom we've know for so many years.
Thomas' sons, George (now in Calgary) and Jerry (who left the family business about three years ago and is no longer in restaurant business) ran Antico Martini for quite a few years.
"After the departure of George and then Jerry, the atmosphere in was not the same," my source says. "Many regulars whom we knew and saw there often soon stopped coming. That was so sad."
My source has frequented this place since it opened almost 40 years ago.
We will follow this up to learn more.