@VALUEZTV AM EDITION
The owners of Ciro Forty Acres plan to begin brewing coffee and start serving breakfast beginning at 8 a.m. Thursday morning at their newly renovated site.
The snug cafe at 1836 Lovering Ave. in Wilmington's Forty Acres neighborhood is owned by Wilmington chef Michael DiBianca and his business partner Venu Gaddamidi.
The pair have been renovating the space for the past two months.
Ciro Forty Acres – pronounce it Cheer-oh – takes over the former De La Coeur cafe. It has about 28 seats inside and will also have outdoor seating on the sidewalk. Capacity inside is now limited due to state-mandated COVID-19 restrictions.
Alex and Gretchen Sianni, owners of De La Coeur Café et Pâtisserie, announced in late May they were permanently closing their 5-year-old flagship location off Lovering Avenue as well as a second cafe in Independence Mall off Concord Pike.
Gaddamidi had dined at De La Coeur and its previous tenant Fresh Thymes Cafe and said he always liked the location.
Gaddamidi also has a connection to the area. He and his family lived in a home near the Delaware Art Museum when they moved to Delaware from San Francisco's Bay area.
While he admits opening a new cafe during the coronavirus pandemic isn't ideal timing, Gaddamidi said when the site became available, he took the leap at leasing the space.
"When an opportunity comes up, you have to take a risk. It's worth the adventure," he said on Tuesday afternoon as DiBianca worked in the open kitchen, prepping food for Thursday's opening.
DiBianca also has a tie to the nearby Trolley Square area.
He had previously owned Moro, a critically-acclaimed two-story restaurant at 1307 N. Scott St. that emphasized Mediterranean flavors, and Satsuma Asian Kitchen & Bar at 1707 Delaware Ave. Both sites are now closed.
Ciro Forty Acres is a second venture for Gaddamidi and DiBianca.
Since March 2019, they have run Ciro Food & Drink at 321 Justison St., a quaint bistro located inside Gaddamidi's 10-year-old Veritas Wine & Craft Beer shop at the Wilmington Riverfront. The bistro highlights DiBianca's cuisine as well as Gaddamidi's wine knowledge.
DiBianca has been a semifinalist for a James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Gaddamidi said Ciro Forty Acres is the perfect size for the partners, especially as the restaurant industry now faces major challenges due to operating limitations because of COVID-19.
The pair want to focus on smaller, neighborhood-friendly operations with a "hands-on touch with customers," he said, rather than "mega, 200-seat restaurants."
DiBianca agrees. "I want to surround myself with people I want to be around."
As for larger restaurants such as ones he ran before? "I had enough of that," the chef said.
The cafe initially will be open from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, serving breakfast, brunch and lunch.
The menu includes coffee from La Colombe in Philadelphia, sweet and savory crepes, pastries made in-house and other dishes. A menu should be posted soon on the Facebook page and the Ciro Food & Drink website.
A dinner service is planned in the future. The partners said they would like to get a liquor license to serve beer and wine.