Photos by Sarah Bennett
Luca Carteni has big plans for he and his brothers’ year-old restaurant Passaparola, a “trattoria italiana” that sits on the edge of a Medditerranean-style shopping center on PCH and Loynes.
Since taking over day-to-day operations at the casual fine dining establishment three months ago, the Italian-born restaurateur (who, along with brother David, also owns Long Beach’s La Parolaccia and El Lobo) has already initiated lunch service, re-tooled the boutique wine list and added a Bacchus hour with special prices and complimentary canapés.
But before following through on his ideas for tableside cooking, roving opera singers and a projector television for watching big Italian football games, he says it’s time to give back.
“This is something we always knew we would do, even before we followed our dreams here,” says Luca Carteni of the free-lunch event Passaparola is throwing for “do-gooders” this Friday. “Our mother always said, ‘When you go to America, you’re going to make a lot of money. Make sure you share with the people that are helping the less fortunate.’”
The event, called Spirito del Filantropo (or Spirit of Philanthropy), will provide free lunch to those who engage in charity work throughout the city. It’s a way for the brothers to give something back to those who do so many good things for people throughout the city.
As Carteni imagines it, the hopefully annual lunch will be a place for community volunteers, non-profit workers and general “do-gooders” to receive a culinary “thank you” for donating their time and energy to help others. Fronting the cost for up to 100 lunches is a small investment compared to the work done over the years by those who will be dining for free.
“We are building a community for people,” he says. “By the end of the lunch, everybody’s going to meet new friends and everybody’s going to know everybody. It’ll be a time to meet new people and who knows what new charity events people will get together and do after?”
Spirito del Filantropo is more than just a way for the Cartenis to appease their mother, who still lives in central Italy. The brothers believe that giving back is a necessary part of success, one that’s even built in to the name of their restaurant, which means “pass it on.”
“We’re human beings, we need food to survive,” Luca says. “So for us, it’s like we’re giving food so these people keep on living and keep on giving.”
Spirito del Filantropo will take place Friday, September 14 from 11:30AM to 1:30PM. Reservations are required by calling (562) 491-1000. Passaparola is located at 6204 E. Pacific Coast Hwy.
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