He went up to the Kawarthas early in the pandemic. Now he canoes to work

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He went up to the Kawarthas early in the pandemic. Now he canoes to work

And by “work,” we mean the Italian restaurant and bakery he launched in November

Roberto Mangoni, 49, restaurateur, on his way to work in Bobcaygeon

 

In 2015, Roberto Mangoni bought a small cottage on Little Bald Lake near Bobcaygeon for $240,000. When Covid hit, his construction company came to a standstill. He’d been a city dweller all his life, but with no romantic attachments and with his daughters at college in the U.S., he found himself hitting the highway to the cottage every chance he got. He was enjoying the peace and quiet of life on the lake. Before long, Roberto made it official: he would stay in Bobcaygeon for good.

But he wasn’t ready to retire. He owned a commercial property on Bobcaygeon’s main street, so instead, he decided to put into action something he’d dreamed about: starting a restaurant. He hired a team of designers and builders and got to work on Che Figata, a casual Italian restaurant.

In May 2020, Mangoni ended the lease on his midtown condo and got a dog, a cane corso named Venus. His restaurant was 15 kilometres from his cottage, and he found it burdensome to head back often to let the dog out. So in October, he sold his property to a family that was permanently relocating from the GTA, and moved into a riverfront home he’d bought near the restaurant. He’s planning to tear down the home and build a five-bed, six-bath modern farmhouse bungalow in its place.

Che Figata opened at the end of November, offering pizza, fresh pasta and homemade desserts. Business was slow in the winter, but Mangoni says it has picked up dramatically. He’s now adding a bakery and a prep kitchen down the street.

Today, Mangoni starts his mornings by sitting on his dock with an espresso and watching the ducks. Then he takes Venus for a walk. He still drives into his Toronto office four days a week, but he intends to start winding down his involvement in the construction company as the restaurant and bakery get busier. His waterfront home is so close to the restaurant that he can canoe or kayak there in five minutes when the weather is good. During his time off, Roberto explores the surrounding area with Venus, visiting places like the Burleigh Falls. Or he’ll take his mountain bike out into the nearby trails.

Che Figata opened at the end of November, offering pizza, fresh pasta and homemade desserts