Sfoglia Patisserie and Cafe will open for the final time this Saturday (29 January), making the Dickson cafe the latest in a long line of iconic Canberra hospitality businesses to close its door during the pandemic.
A family has purchased the business, and they will choose a new name and adopt a unique style for the cafe moving forward.
One of the cafe’s current owners, Nicola Boccuzzo, said all parties felt positive about their decision to move on. He cited a combination of the long hours, a demanding workload and the owners growing older as the main reasons for their departure.
“It’s nothing bad. After doing it for 23 years, we just thought it was time to move on and move to other endeavours,” Mr Boccuzzo said.
Sfoglia was set up by Luigi Taurasi and his young family in 1996, operating from Page Shopping Centre. The cafe found its permanent home in Dickson in December 1998, where Michael Taurasi, Nicola Boccuzzo and Mario Bellofatto helped grow the business into what it is today.
Mr Boccuzzo believes the relationship they had with the Dickson community and beyond made what they created so special.
“What we’re proud of is the friendship that we grew with our customers and the customers that kept coming in and felt comfortable like they were a part of the family,” said Mr Boccuzzo.
“We had one girl in a pram in the early days we were here and now she’s one of our baristas.
“The connection with the community is really strong,” he said.
One of its proudest achievements is becoming a hub for Canberra’s Italian community, a place where they could sit and catch their beloved Serie A Football (Italian Football League) and watch Italy overcome 50 years of history to win the Euros in 2020.
A tense moment in Sfoglia’s history came in 2006 when Italy eliminated Australia from the FIFA World Cup courtesy of a controversial penalty. The game was aired from the cafe and remains a sore point with some customers 16 years later.
“We had a few Italians going for Australia, and we had some that were very loyal to Italy, but look, we still get hassled about that one game until this day,” said Mr Boccuzzo.
“It’s moments like those that our young Italians will probably miss when we don’t have an Italian club either.
“That’s why they were a little bit upset, I guess. But, everything must come to an end, and it just happened to come out of the blue where we just wanted to move on.”
Original Article published by Max O’Driscoll on Riotact.