“The fire itself wasn’t that damaging, but the smoke damage was a lot more extensive,” he said. “A lot of the construction hold up has been because of the smoke mitigation.”
While the damages are being repaired, La Residence’s 100-year-old home is getting a mini-makeover to revamp the restaurant.
Gualtieri said new sprinklers will be installed and plans are in place to build new restrooms and renovate their patio.
He said they’re trying to plan ahead for their renovation and coordinate with the construction going on in the area around the restaurant.
Heavy construction is currently obstructing Rosemary Street and the AC Hotel under construction next door is not expected to be completed until summer 2017.
Gualtieri said there will be an impact from the construction on business. Yet, they have not had any problems since their closure.
“Construction hasn’t been too much of a hassle as we’ve been closed right now,” Gualtieri said. “The town has been really accepting of us and really helpful with all our inspections, which has been nice.”
Some students, like UNC sophomore Meghan Malone, are more skeptical of how construction on Rosemary Street will affect La Residence’s business.
“I think they’ll probably have a hard time getting business due to the construction, especially since it seems like a fancier restaurant and college students don’t have money,” Malone said.
For those like UNC Ph.D. student Bhushan Jain, good food and a peaceful location are what attracts people to new potential date venues.
“I am excited that I have a new restaurant to try out,” Jain said. “However, the construction around La Residence is a bummer for ambiance — not exactly a place to go for a romantic date.”
As La Residence celebrates its 40th anniversary, Gualtieri said he’s excited to begin hosting weddings and private UNC events in his family’s restaurant as a new way to interact with the community.
“I think a lot of students only see the late-night side of the bar, but we were originally founded in the late ‘70s as a fine dining establishment,” Gualtieri said.