Appetizers
May 26, 2008
Peter Torza Pulls the Plug

After vacillating for weeks over the future of his Gianni's Trattoria in midtown Sacramento, Peter Torza is closing down the business and putting it on the market. Last call is this coming weekend.

"I gave this my all, but it jut didn't work. It hurts," said Torza Monday afternoon after dispatching a media email to announce his decision. "Rewards were many, but at my age this place takes just too much of my time. And time is pretty precious," wrote Torza.

He opened the sleek Gianni's in April of 2007 as a successor to his Black Pearl Oyster Bar in the same quarters. The Black Pearl had become too much of a bar scene for his taste and he hoped Gianni's would strike a better balance between restaurant and lounge, but that equilibrium never materialized. The restaurant was doing fine, but the bar business had fallen off. "You need the two of them."

He also speculated that Gianni's may have been hurt by the larger and splashier G.V. Hurley's restaurant and bar that opened recently next door, and by high gas prices that could be discouraging suburban residents from driving into Sacramento for dinner, especially midweek.

The final straw came this weekend, when business was "horrible," said Torza. "I loved doing it, but I don't want to work this hard this late in my life."

His plans are uncertain, though he indicated he'd be giving more of his time to nearby Harlow's, in which he is a principal. He's also thinking of relocating to Italy for a few months. He's also thinking of being a restaurant consultant, helping design new places but not operating them. "I feel my job is done," said Torza. "At this point, I think I'd enjoy building them more than running them. But I am going to miss the food here. I love that calamari."

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