Renato Zavaglia of La Contessa on Erie Street East shows off the beginnings of major renovations

One of my favourite things about my job is getting all the inside scoop of what is happening in our culinary industry before it becomes public knowledge. For the last few months I have been holding one item in particular close to my chest. Now that it has begun, I can share it: One of the mainstay restaurants on Erie Street East, Windsor’s Little Italy, is in the midst of a makeover.

Open for 15 years, La Contessa has become well known for their traditional, freshly made dishes, but for the last 3 weeks the doors have been locked and windows papered over as a new look sets in. When the restaurants reopens, guests can expect a new bar to enjoy cocktails, bigger doors, booths, benches and wider windows.

Take a look at this video of co-owner Renato Zavaglia as he walks through the gutted restaurant explaining how the finished renovations will look:

If you couldn’t tell, Renato was really excited to show me everything. Renato says a lot of time and money is being spent on the new look. “We’ve spent approximately $200,000 on renovations,” he says, also stating he felt the restaurant had become outdated (renovations last happened 8 years ago) and wanted a new look for his customers to experience and enjoy. With the hard times that have hit Windsor, it’s great to see things picking up and owners having faith in the economy to reinvest in their businesses.

Although the restaurant will look completely different, the menu will stay true to its roots. “The menu will be carried over to keep the restaurants specialities, but specific foods will be added,” said Renato, not wanting to get into details about the new menu just yet.

With the recent work on Via Italia to complete the La Bella Strada project, La Contessa will also be host to one of the biggest patios on Erie St. and may even have an outdoor wood burning pizza oven in the near future.