We decided to take a look at how one of Macon’s most iconic restaurants got its start. This comes after an announcement was made that Natalia Del Basso Orsini sold Natalia's to Wes and Travis Griffith.
In 1973, Natalia says she took a leap of faith.
“I truly, I was crying all the time because America is not like Italy at all,” says Natalia. She immigrated to America with hopes of a new future.
“I soon adjusted and realized you've got work,” says Natalia.
But 11 years later, she says she rolled the dice again.
“In the beginning, I did everything. I mean, we're talking about, I painted, I redid the chairs, because believe it or not, the loan that I got, it was only $30,000,” says Natalia.
With just $3,000 left, she opened Natalia’s.
“The first two years were rough, and then I knew I was going to make it,” says Natalia.
For the next 34 years, Natalia says she lived the American dream.
“I think it gave me a lot of happiness, a lot of satisfaction to see this restaurant grow,” says Natalia.
But after spending more than half her life running the restaurant, Natalia says it is time to hand the business over.
“I’m going to spend some time, longer times in Italy. Instead of one month in the summer, I’d like to spend two months and then spend more time go to game with my grandchildren,” says Natalia.
She says not to be surprised if you still see her in the restaurant helping out from time to time.
But the new owners say Natalia's friendly face is not the only part of the restaurant that will be familiar.
The president of the Moonhanger Group, Wes Griffith, says he and his brother, Travis, bought Natalia's, but he says they plan to keep the menu and prices the same.
Wes says when the former owner, Natalia Del Basso Orsini, approached them, they were excited to be a part of a restaurant that has played a huge role in the community.
He says they want to make sure they respect the legacy that she has built.
“She's put 34 years of you know sweat and tears into that business and done a great job and is a great success story, and she wanted someone to respect that and continue that legacy,” says Wes.
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