ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Villa di Capo, a long-standing Italian restaurant in Downtown, closed permanently in mid-May, thus marking the end in Albuquerque of a once prominent local chain of restaurants.
“We are sad, but happy at the same time about retirement, because we are going to miss all our friends, our customers became our friends at Villa di Capo,” said Giovanna Mourning, who owned the restaurant with her sister Madelyne Venaglia.
Mourning said the decision to close the restaurant was driven more by a desire to enjoy retirement after several decades of running it rather than due to COVID.
“We just saw the opportunity and grasped on and flew with it,” she said.
Though the ending may be a little bittersweet, Mourning said the years of ownership allowed her to watch generations of families grow up with the restaurant serving as a celebration spot for weddings, prom dinners and graduations.
“We always have had a very loyal following,” she said.
Opened in the early ’80s at the corner of 8th and Central, Villa di Capo was one of the many Italian restaurants underneath the Capo’s umbrella which began with the opening of a small pizza parlor in the ’50s.
Owned by Mourning’s father Frank Venaglia and his wife, the Casa Luna pizza parlor would eventually grow to include nearly 50 restaurants spread across New Mexico with additional locations in Colorado and Arizona.
Villa di Capo was one of several restaurants to use the Capo name, including the last remaining restaurant, Capo’s Corner in Red River.
Mourning said the building has been leased to a new restaurant.