Armando al Pantheon, a lively, family-run trattoria in the heart of Rome, counts the architect Renzo Piano among its illustrious customers. And there is no way that owner and chef Claudio Gargioli, is going to offend his sensibilities – and those of other regulars – with plexiglass.
His father, who opened the restaurant a stone’s throw away from the majestic Pantheon in 1961, would turn in his grave at such a notion, he said. “It could work as a barrier at the till, but on the table it’s not only ugly, but an insult,” Gargioli told the Observer.
The question of whether to separate diners with a plastic panel has been on the minds of many Italian restaurant owners as they prepare to reopen tomorrow after more than two months of coronavirus lockdown. But the social distancing concept is unlikely to become prevalent: according to a recent survey by marketing agency RistoratoreTop, many concluded that plexiglass was a bad idea.
Among those to have tested it was Valerio Calderoni, the owner of Il Ciak in Rome’s Trastevere neighbourhood.