Italian-born Anto Concu and Ramona Nette, originally from Romania, found themselves in Playa del Carmen in 2013, ready to start a new life. With Ramona’s background in hospitality and Anto’s family owning a bakery in Italy, the couple was motivated to open their own restaurant. Their experiences became the perfect combination when they decided to open Pasta e Polpetta in Playa del Carmen.
Was there a conscious reason to move to Playa?
Yes, we were looking to live in a town close to the sea, to satisfy our adventurous personalities and for the perfect balance between nature and city-like life. Also, to offer our son, Gabriel, a memorable childhood and international education. We searched for available business locations to rent, and we found a great spot. We felt it was a good opportunity to bring the true Italian cuisine to other cultures.
Have you faced any challenges, and if so, how did you overcome them?
Of course, there are always challenges, as in any business. However, it’s important to approach them from a learning perspective. Never focus on the problem as there are always solutions; a positive attitude is key to anything in life.
How do you find and then keep clients for your enterprise?
The reputation of the business is well-known within the Italian community, as well as with locals. Therefore, we rely on our friendly service, quality products and reputation to find clients and retain regulars. All of our products are made at the time of the order, in-house, like our bombas (Italian doughnuts). We source our coffee from Napoli, Italy, and it arrives in capsules, ready to brew in our Italian-made coffee machine.
Do you have any advice for people who intend to move to the Riviera Maya to start a business?
Playa del Carmen’s restaurant business heavily relies on referral and reputation, where owners support one another by referring business to different establishments. Follow your dreams, take calculated risks, know what you are good at, work hard and do it well.
Any ideas for further expansion?
We are currently expanding and planning to open up a second location in centro Playa del Carmen, with a bigger kitchen. Therefore, our homemade pasta maker will be transferred to this location, to satisfy the always-growing clientele.
What do you like to do on your day off?
We go to the beach, we visit cenotes, we love to have friends over for a barbecue, play guitar and sing Karaoke.
Pasta e Polpetta is located on Avenida Constituyentes between Avenidas 30 and 35. Visit them on Facebook/Pasta e Polpetta