Bella Notte at country club a 'restaurant on the edge'
BRATTLEBORO — The restaurant at the Brattleboro Country Club is being leased by the family that runs Terrazza Restaurant at the Country Club of Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Bella Notte opened April 20 and offers northern Italian cuisine with pub fare.
"When the new [golf] pro came to the Brattleboro Country Club, I guess he mentioned to the owners that he may know some people who would be great for the location," said Abaz Cecunjanin, owner of Terrazza and assistant to the owner of Bella Notte, his brother Erdin Cecunjanin. "So he gave me a call, I came up and saw the restaurant with my brother, and we decided to take it."
Abaz said Erdin had been the chef at Bella Notte in Bernardston, Massachusetts and moved back to Connecticut but decided to "rejoin the forces of the family and open another restaurant."
An announcement that Bella Notte in Bernardston would close was made back in December 2012.
In addition to the Italian food the family's restaurants are known for, Bella Notte will have a bunch of sandwiches, wraps and salads as well as a list of cocktail specials switched out every other week.
"So I call it a restaurant on the edge — between fine dining and pub food," Abaz said. "We're doing a great job down in Greenfield managing both at the same time."
Members and guests "are happy and we're happy," he said. "So far here, the response has been great and we look forward" to the future.
Abaz said he has been laughing over the last few days as he thinks about the new location.
"Nice Italian food in a New England home — it really matches great," he said. "It makes me feel like I'm at home inside and having dinner, especially when you serve gourmet food like we do. People are really happy."
The restaurant is getting "a lot of calls" to book weddings and other events right now, said Abaz.
"During the season it's always a good idea to check and make sure we have openings for dinner because we may have a wedding going on, where we have to close the facility," he said.
The first wedding of the season is scheduled for June 1.
Abaz said he enjoys the scenery and has noticed how many Brattleboro area residents have been going to the Greenfield restaurant. He told his brother they might have to fight over customers.
Abaz and Erdin are from the small country of Montenegro, the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Abaz moved to the United States in 1998. Erdin came in 1986.
Lunch hours at the Brattleboro restaurant are 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. seven days a week. Dinner is 4 to 9:30 p.m. except for Sundays when the restaurant closes at 8:30 p.m.
"In a few months, we'll start with daily lunch and evening specials," Abaz said. "I know that Brattleboro has a lot to offer and that we'll try to be part of that."
Abaz said he does not play golf because he does not have the time, counting 45 days of working in a row at the time of the interview.
"It's crazy," he said.
In March, Brattleboro Country Club owner Melanie Boese told the Select Board she was "actively looking" for a lessee for the restaurant. She said it had been difficult to market the restaurant as a year-round establishment and not as lucrative as she had hoped.
"I feel like I am a steward for something that's been a very important part of this community for a lot longer than I have and hopefully will be here for a lot longer than me," she told the board. "So really our focus is to build that business and make it healthy so it will be around when I retire."
Reach staff writer Chris Mays at email@example.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
TALK TO US
If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.