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Cafe Luna: Red Sox Nation

By on April 28, 2014 in Dining, Naples Travel with 6 Comments

Cafe Luna in Naples, Florida “It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world.” – Disney

What do the Boston Red Sox and an Italian restaurant in Naples, Florida have in common? All shall soon be revealed.

My sister, Maria, her husband, Tim, and their three kids, Danny, Jack and Brooke, recently visited my mom, Callie, in Naples. Of course, I wanted to join them. So I did.

One evening, we went to a local, Italian restaurant on 5th Avenue called Cafe Luna. My mom and I had eaten there with one of my other sisters, Alexis, and her husband, Kash, once before.

Why Cafe Luna? Well, my curiosity had been piqued awhile back when a friend from Lynnfield, Jon B., had emailed me in response to a post he saw on Facebook. I mentioned I would be in Naples, and he told me to check out his dad’s restaurant, Cafe Luna. He said to ask for the owner, Ed Barsamian.

Italian cuisine, live music, and perfect weather made for a fantastic family night out at Cafe Luna. Cafe Luna also has an awesome “very good deal menu” where you choose two dinners plus a bottle of wine for $29.99. This even includes gluten free options! At the time, I had committed to eliminating gluten from my diet for eight weeks. Thus, I was very excited when I learned I could have pasta without gluten.

As I sat at the table, I emailed Jon B. to let him know I was dining at his dad’s restaurant. No response. What to do? To seek out Ed? You see, I am actually a very shy person. Because I am outgoing, people do not realize this about me.

As we waited for our meals and chatted, a painting on the wall caught our attention. My eye kept going back to this painting. And that’s when I spied my best friend from high school, Laura Pizzuti’s, sister Linda sitting at the table with her husband, John H., her father, Don, a woman I did not know, and two men whose backs were turned to us. Of course, I texted Laura right away. While I waited for Laura to text me back, their meals arrived.

My brother-n-law, Tim, is super friendly and chatted with our waiter. When our waiter learned we were from Boston, he asked Tim, “Do you like the Boston Red Sox?”

Of course Tim responded, “yes.”

Our waiter proceeded to say, “Well, look who is sitting over there… the owner of the Red Sox team, John Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti.”

My sister, Maria, responded, “Yes, we know. We went to high school with his wife.”

Our waiter proceeded to tell us how he had been drafted for the Red Sox a long time ago but got into a car accident so he couldn’t play ball. He didn’t seem to believe us when we told him we knew who John H. and Linda were. His disbelief amused me as I have met John H. and have had dinner at his house a few times when Laura visited Linda in Florida. And of course I knew Linda since I was a kid. I did not share this information, but I was entertained.

Our dinners arrived. In addition to gluten, I had eliminated processed foods, alcohol and sugar for an eight-week period. I got my chicken parm without cheese and pasta with sauce. I bent the rules on the sauce, which sometimes contains sugar. My dinner was delicious, as was the rest of my family’s.

I wanted to  say “hi,” but Don and Linda were never at the table together. Don was talking to Ed and introduced him to John H. and the mystery men, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino. Tom and Larry soon made their way out of the restaurant with everyone else behind them. At this point, I went over to my friends, said “hello” to John H., gave Linda a big hug, and then hugged her dad.

Red Sox Nation_Larry Lucchino, Ed Barsamian, Tom Werner, John Henry

Don asked me if I had said “hello” to Ed. I said I hadn’t because I wasn’t sure if he would know who I was. He proceeded to take me to the back to meet Ed, while Linda and Maria caught up, Don went back to chat with my mom, and Tim said hello to John H. When I got back, I met their lady friend, said my goodbyes, then sat down as they walked out.

It was great to run into familiar faces on the west coast of Florida. Seeing old friends always brings back warm memories. For me, I remembered my trip to Aruba with Laura and her parents years ago. They had been a million times as they have a timeshare there. I had never been. As I am curious by nature, I asked a lot of questions about Aruba…. “What’s there to do? What are the hot spots? What is Aruba known for?” You see, my trip with Laura was spontaneous. We booked our flights three days in advance and had only planned on kicking back at the beach as we would be crashing her parents’ vacation. Her dad decided to surprise me by giving me a little tour of the island, showing me the natural bridge and other key points. He also took me to the Hyatt to gamble because that’s where all the “eligible men” would be… Of course, the place was empty, but his intentions were sweet. Bringing me over to meet Ed reminded me of how Don took care of me when I vacationed with them in Aruba.

And then my phone blew up with text messages. First from Laura, whose phone had been shut off. Then from Louie DiBiccari, telling me to go say “hi” to Ed, while warning me he wouldn’t remember me as he was the only friend of Jon’s Ed remembered. I didn’t connect with Jon B. until the next day when he told me his dad had sent the picture he took of me the night before.

Our waiter came back to the table and was like, “Oh. You guys really know everyone here.”

We responded, “Yes, we are all from the same town, Lynnfield.”

My family and I wrapped up our fun evening at Cafe Luna and then proceeded to walk around the Ave before heading home…

Travel tip: If you are ever in Naples, check out Cafe Luna. You may not see the Red Sox owners there, but you will definitely have a great meal. And you never know… After all, the place is owned by a man from Lynnfield and frequented by some of Boston’s elite…

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  1. Where to Eat : Gina Pacelli | December 28, 2015
  1. erin says:

    I love those snack world moments when traveling! But this one might take the cake. 🙂

  2. erin says:

    Small world, not snack world. I must learn to read what my phone thinks I’m typing before I post. 🙂

  3. Alison says:

    It always amazes me how you just happen to know people everywhere you go. Nice story. And here’s to future travels and meeting more friends….

    • Gina Pacelli says:

      Awwww… Thanks for checking out my blog, Al… I guess I am lucky to have met so many wonderful people over the years. 🙂

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