2008-06-19 / News

Join the family at the Trattoria

By Erin Brown

Phyllis Bedard, center, gets ready for the evening crowd at Trattoria Simpatico with staff members Mike Jacquard and Heather Dimon. Photo by Erin Brown Phyllis Bedard, center, gets ready for the evening crowd at Trattoria Simpatico with staff members Mike Jacquard and Heather Dimon. Photo by Erin Brown With elegant twinkling lights, graceful green canopies, and artistic wooden latticework, the Trattoria Simpatico is a tempting destination to all who pass by- whether long time patrons or new arrivals.

When Phyllis Bedard started the Trattoria 15 years ago, she said she was trying to make the restaurant a place that represented all the things she valued, and to present her guests with an atmosphere that made them feel "warm and united." So she took the word Trattoria, which is a term for a small family restaurant, and combined it with Simpatico, meaning harmony or like-mindedness.

According to Bedard, the Trattoria was started for one reason, and that reason was, as she laughingly put it, "Necessity!" She explained that she didn't have a lot of money when she started, but that she wanted to make "something attractive out of nothing." She said the building, in its pre-Trattoria days, had been home to a real state office, among other things.

Bedard has a history in the field of human services, and has tried to incorporate those skills into a goal of the Trattoria. She said that she didn't think of the people who ate at her restaurant as just customers. "They are guests in my home, and that's what I want them to feel like."

Bedard pointed out that the Trattoria has a bit of a European flavor in its attitude and décor, and especially in the relaxed sit-down mentality encouraged and fostered at the restaurant. The live music played there four nights a week may lend itself to this image. The establishment also has a reputation for romance. "Oh, we have people get engaged here all the time," Bedard said.

Bedard has also gained many kinds of "families" through running her business. First of all, there is her staff, which Bedard refers to as "just one big family." She mentioned that many of her staff had been with her for years, saying that overall she didn't really have much of a turnover in this area.

Bedard confided that it took her and her "incredible staff," many hours of hard work to keep the restaurant on its toes. She said that while in the winter her "staff family" numbered at about 32 people, in the summer she expanded to anywhere between 75 and 80 employees, including eight cooks at one time. Bedard admitted that this was a bit of a change from when she first started out, when the restaurant only seated thirty people.

"The other family" is how Bedard refers to her guests, especially the summer crowd that descends on Jamestown each year. Over and over, Bedard emphasized it's all about the guests. She expressed that she wanted the Trattoria to be somewhere that people considered somewhat upscale, but still friendly.

Describing the workings of the restaurant, especially those involving the guests themselves, Bedard calls it a symphony. She explained that to her staff, the music starts the minute a guest walks through the door, and must be conducted down to every minute detail throughout a guest's visit.

As a continuation of their reputation for service and caring, Trattoria Simpatico supports many charities throughout the year. Among them are the Jamestown Fire Department and the Make A Wish foundation.

The Trattoria has also slowly expanded in the last five years, branching into a fully licensed catering service, serving their extended guests for a variety of occasions. They happily serve for weddings, birthdays, and parties in general.

Trattoria Simpatico is open seven days a week, starting with lunch at noon, and serving dinner until 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday, but staying open till 11 p.m. from Thursday to Saturday, as well as on holidays.

Return to top