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Salem Eats: Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant’s Tale of Resilience and Tradition

Written by Wyatt Jones on Jan. 9th, 2024
Featured Image photo for Salem Eats: Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant’s Tale of Resilience and Tradition

Nestled on Lancaster Dr. NE in Salem, Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant embodies a story of resilience, tradition, and community connection. Owners Julie and Roger Hoy share their remarkable journey in this feature, offering insights into the challenges and triumphs of local business ownership in Salem.

Geppetto’s: A Dream Realized

The Hoys’ path to restaurant ownership was unexpected, rooted in hope and a desire for a fulfilling future. “Our entry into the restaurant world came through a prayer for my husband Roger’s happiness,” Julie explains. This prayer led them to take over Geppetto’s from Roger’s brother in 2017, marking the start of a transformative chapter in their lives.

Upholding a Chicago Legacy in Salem

Geppetto’s stands out with its unique Chicago-style ambiance, a legacy of Ma Barsotti and her son Tom, who established the restaurant in 1972. Despite its discreet exterior, the restaurant’s cozy bar and lattice work create a nostalgic, inviting atmosphere.

Navigating Challenges with Resilience

The journey of Geppetto’s is marked by adversity, from the 2018 water crisis to the 2019 arson fire, and the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. These trials have only strengthened the owners’ resolve. “These experiences underscored the importance of our community and our own resilience,” Julie reflects.

A Team Fueled by Dedication

Despite staffing challenges, a common issue in the restaurant industry, especially post-pandemic, the Hoys take pride in their committed team. “Our staff embodies our dedication to what Geppetto’s stands for,” says Julie.

Preserving the Essence of Geppetto’s

Without prior experience in restaurant ownership, the Hoys focus on honoring Geppetto’s legacy while ensuring excellence in service and quality. “We aim to preserve the spirit of the restaurant,” Julie asserts.

Signature Dishes that Tell a Story

Geppetto’s is celebrated for dishes like Ma’s Lasagna and Ma’s Ravioli, each offering a taste of the restaurant’s rich history.

Looking forward, Julie and Roger Hoy remain committed to their community in Salem, their team, and the enduring legacy of Geppetto’s Italian Restaurant. Their story is a testament to the power of hope, community strength, and the persistent spirit of Salem’s culinary scene.

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