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Matthew Willis, left, and Gregg Pastorelle opened Aleta’s Café at the Oten Gallery this week. A grand opening is planned for Friday, June 6, when the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Photo by Megan Bachman)

New sandwich and pizza cafe opens

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The village’s newest restaurant is now open.

Aleta’s Café, at the Oten Gallery, 303 Xenia Ave., serves hot Panini sandwiches, pizzas made with Naan bread and salads for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The cafe opened to diners over last weekend, but plans its official grand opening for Friday, June 6, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Matthew Willis and Gregg Pastorelle said they are excited to open the 40-seat restaurant after 11 months of work renovating the space to comply with Greene County regulations.

“Our approach is good service, good food and a good environment — and the environment is already here,” Pastorelle said. The two envision a casual, relaxed atmosphere, with seating both inside and throughout a large tree-covered brick patio in the back that is especially magical at night, they said. The restaurant is not licensed to sell alcohol, but diners can bring along their own for a small fee, owners said.

Willis, 38, and Pastorelle, 34, bring nearly 30 years of restaurant experience between them to Aleta’s. Pastorelle, a graduate of Columbus Culinary Institute, has cooked for 18 years, including at fine dining establishments and most recently at Sunrise Café. Willis has 10 years of restaurant experience, including at Peach’s Grill and Friends Care Community.

Having worked at many Yellow Springs restaurants, the owners say they don’t want to duplicate other local offerings, but add something new to the local food scene. The menu will also change seasonally.

“We’re looking for things that are different from what everyone in town already has,” Pastorelle said. “You can’t find any place to get a hot sandwich and just chill. And you can’t get much else than pizza past 9 p.m. in town.”

The name of the café honors Willis’ triplet sister, Melanie Aleta Willis, who died in 2009 from Graves’ disease. Melanie showed Willis how to cook so he could find a job at Friends Care, Willis explained.

“She loved food and loved cooking,” Willis said.

For more information visit the Aleta’s Café Facebook page


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