2 nights ago, i was invited to dinner by one of my clients. She was leaving her company after 11 years and it was sort of her going away dinner. She wanted something quiet and exclusive. So we ended up at this interesting Italian place in Airport residential called Michaelangelo’s.
Now first of all, you would never have known anything was happening there because the place was so quiet and inconspicuous. But sure enough when i walked into the stone and wood building, it was full. Everybody in there looked like they were either an Ex-pat or earned Ex-pat type cash. So i took my seat and proceeded to have the most amusing dinner of my life.
The guy who runs the place, Leo, is an elderly Italian man whose glasses hung from a string around his neck. We weren’t given a menu. Instead he walked up to the table and asked… is there anyone here who does not eat ham? No? Ok… and then he walked off. Then a well spoken waiter showed up and asked “still water or sparkling?” i was like, cant i get anything else? to which he replied, you must have water first, sir. Ok then. So he brought the water, one bottle still, the other sparkling. I noticed they were both Italian brands. Interesting, i thought.
Then he came to take the drink orders. Red Wine or Peroni, he asked. What’s Peroni i asked. Peroni, Perronnni he said to me smugly, Italian beer. I’m sure in his head he must’ve been thinking… how can this dude not know Peroni Italian beer? It’s Italian! Funny, cuz in my head i was wondering how much this Ghanaian waiter was paid to be so enthusiastic about Italian beer.
Anyways i got the beer so i wouldn’t seem like a pain in the u-know-what… and also because it didnt look like i could just order a coke in this place. It tasted horrible, but i faced it like a man.
Then the food began to arrive. Lemme just say that was the most pasta i’ve had in one single night! No wonder they didn’t see the need for a menu… they knew what they had planned for us! Starter: pasta. Main dish: Square pasta. Dessert, A seafood platter of, you guessed it, pasta.
Anyways, my point is, it was an intrinsically exclusive experience [at an exclusive price]. And Leo’s restaurant thrives, hidden inconspicuously somewhere in the heart of the Airport residential area. I would never have thought that a place which is so devotedly Italian, down to the paintings on the wall, could thrive without making any sacrifices to satisfy a larger audience. But it does… and judging from it’s clientel, it will for a long time. It seems then, that it is still possible to carve out niches here, if you know how to fnd and keep your target audience.