Today (Thursday, Nov. 26) is Thanksgiving, and boy do we all have a lot to be thankful for! Last weekend I took a trip to New York City and it was very disheartening to see all of the homeless people. It made me feel lucky for all of the small things in life such as taking a shower, having a bed to sleep on, feeling safe, putting on the air or heat, etc., on top of other things such as having my health and having people to love and who love me. Consider giving thanks on this day to the people in your lives who you respect and care about. Realize that although many of us have our ups and downs, we at least have our basic necessities of food, clothing and shelter. Fortunately, locally there are some great organizations that can help people in our area who are in similar situations. If you have the ability, please make a donation to the Community Food Bank or Salvation Army, volunteer your time at the Rescue Mission or extend a helping hand to someone on the street.
What would be a better way to spend this holiday season than shopping and eating in some great local places? I know what you’re thinking. Last week I wrote about eating in moderation and not over doing it, but now that you got those rules down pat I can share with you a great place to eat that I personally think is one of Atlantic City’s best kept secrets — Girasole Ristorante and Bar. I spoke with co-owner Gino Iovino recently.
Right off, you can tell from his voice how passionate he is about the quality of his food. Trying to acclimate to the economy, Iovino is going to offer special tasting menus and packages ranging from $19-$85 for the holidays. He realizes that the restaurant may have the reputation for being expensive, but he wants people to know that all his menu items are moderately priced. Don’t let that fool you, though, because they all are exceptional in freshness and in quality.
Girasole is open for the holidays, including Christmas Eve, where they have the traditional Italian Seven Fish Dinner along with a Christmas Day dinner and a party for New Year’s Eve. Iovino hopes that people will take advantage of his holiday specials. “Come out as a couple or group and get to enjoy Girasole,” he says. If you haven’t been there yet, I say take a ride over. Valet parking is free when they validate your ticket, and if you need another great excuse to go, then make sure to come out on Tues., Dec. 1, as Girasole will be hosting the annual Top 40 Under 40 Kick-Off Party for Atlantic City Weekly and the Greater Atlantic City Jaycees. For more information you can go to acweekly.com/40.
Speaking of great events, Iovino keeps himself busy by not only running a successful local restaurant, but also as co-owner of a fabulous, trendy, high-end fashion boutique called Eleganza. Located at The Pier Shops at Caesars for the past three years, Eleganza has been in Atlantic City for more than 30 years. As Iovino is acclimating to the economy in his restaurant, he is also doing the same thing at Eleganza. Recently he and his partner, Kim Lucasti, took a trip to Italy to research making a new designer line with their own Eleganza label — all to include affordable pricing. “We were very successful,” says Iovino. “We hooked up with the Italian Trade Commission. The new collection is very moderately priced, and all made in Italy. It still comes from the manufacturers that make name brands, but instead of putting the name brand we now have our own. We now have beautiful quality clothes ranging from $200-$400.
“Right now we only have women’s wear, but we should have a men’s line by spring,” adds Iovino. Also look for a new holiday collection coming soon, as there will be special savings passed along to customers.
“This is the time for the consumer to buy beautiful things that are affordable,” says Iovino, who recently hosted a fashion show with Lucasti typical of the runways in Milan and New York.
So after you’ve had a delightful dinner at Girasole, make sure to stop by The Pier Shops at Caesars and check out the fabulous fashions at Eleganza.
Whitney is an on-air multimedia personality, and works behind the scenes helping businesses gain extra exposure, through her WIN Promotions video production services.