On September 12, the east side café Café Brittoli will close on Atwood Avenue.
The owners of Monsoon Siam, a Thai restaurant a few blocks away, bought the building at 2326 Atwood Ave., which also houses a Chocolate Shoppe ice cream store. The glacier will remain open.
Brittoli made the announcement on Facebook Tuesday. Owners (and brothers) Conner and Kristian Di Persio bought Café Zoma in 2017 after 10 years of working in cafes and restaurants. They changed their name in 2018.
Conner Di Persio said Monsoon Siam offered to extend their lease, which expired in 2023. He declined.
“They’ve been great, honestly,” he said. “I met the owners, we sat down and had a great chat. They are really great people. I’m kinda excited for them, as someone else in the neighborhood who’s already established to take over the spot.
The Brittoli brothers come from a large Italian family. The restaurant is named after the Italian town where their family is from. After two years, Kristian quit the cafe to pursue engineering studies.
Conner will miss making the cafe’s savory pancakes and the Madisonians who have supported the shop – “just day to day to get regulars and get to know them and their own personal little stories, watching how it’s changed over the years .”
A pancake break
Monsoon Siam has been open since spring 2014, launched by Dutdao “Pooh” Wonglaka, a Bangkok-born chef who moved to Madison with her husband and business partner, Kitty Ashi.
Wonglaka has been watching the building for years. When she saw it for sale, she was thrilled.
“I just realized that my dream has come true,” Wonglaka said. “I was like, ‘Oh my god, I dreamed about this building.’
Wonglaka plans to move Monsoon Siam to the new construction space in April or May next year. The lease for Café Brittoli and the lease for the current space that Monsoon Siam occupies at Kennedy Place ends in 2023, so it will be a smooth transition for both of them. In the new building, Monsoon Siam will also offer a new menu.
The restaurant also has a food truck, Monsoon Siam Thai Street Food, which can be found most days of the week (except Tuesdays) at the Library Mall.
Wonglaka is looking forward to joining the ice cream shop, but said she and the Atwood community will surely miss Café Brittoli.
“It’s a bit difficult for the neighborhood not to have Café Brittoli,” Wonglaka said. “But I’m going to make sure we make people happy that we’re here. We are also neighbours.
After Brittoli’s closure, Conner Di Persio plans to take a year off from the industry and reflect on all he has learned over the past five years. The people he served will miss him. His entire career in the food industry has been spent in Madison kitchens.
“I still can’t believe it’s been five years,” he said. “That’s long enough that some of the kids in the community have been in eighth grade, been through all of their high school careers, and are now graduating from high school.
“And just walk in and say ‘we’re going to miss this place. We’ve been coming here since eighth grade and now we’ve graduated. That was definitely the best part of it.
Coffee Brittoli will be open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. until closing on September 12.
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