The Sicilian Umberto Ficarra has been running the Italian restaurant in the center of Mittweida for 26 years. In order to manage the restaurant business, the second son of the family has now returned to Mittweida. Despite this, the restaurant is closed one day a week.
They met at the pizza counter. In 1994, the Dolomiti opened as the first Italian restaurant in Mittweida. There Umberto Ficarra stood by the oven baking pizzas. Marion Ficarra came every day, she says, because she liked the pizza maker so much. “I always ordered Pizza Magherita,” says the native of Mittweida. They have been a couple for 28 years now. The qualified accountant now works himself at the Dolomiti, which Umberto Ficarra took over from the previous owner in 1996.
The Ficarra family is also feeling the effects of the shortage of skilled workers. Usually up to 15 people work in the restaurant in the summer, currently there are nine. Meanwhile, the two sons Francesco and Fabrizio also returned to Mittweida after their university studies to join the restaurant. “Without the support of the family, this year would have been very critical,” says Umberto Ficarra.
The whole family joins hands at the Dolomiti
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Why the weather is also important for a good pizza
In addition to fresh ingredients, the base is one of the most important elements for a good pizza, explains Francesco Ficarra, who has been in the family business for a good six years and works there at the pizza oven. The consistency of the dough has to be right – and it is different every day and even depends on environmental factors such as the weather. When it’s really busy between 18:00 and 19:00 and the wood-fired oven is heated to a good 700 degrees, everything happens very quickly, explains the 27-year-old: from rolling out the dough, toppings, to baking, it barely takes a minute.
rebuilt this spring
Over the years the restaurant has grown. The neighboring ice cream parlor was added about ten years ago. This spring, the restaurant and pizza bakery were modernized. Everything has been renewed from the floor to the lamps. “In ten years we have invested 250,000 euros,” says Umberto Ficarra. With the outside area, there are now almost 150 seats. The family discontinued the delivery service offered during the pandemic period. According to Umberto Ficarra, this was no longer possible. And the scarce staff is also noticeable in other ways: Wednesdays are days off. “Otherwise we were open 365 days a year,” says the 52-year-old.
Inspiration from Italy
On the menu, visitors will find constantly changing seasonal dishes. Umberto Ficarra gets his inspiration from Italy, he is there three to four times a year. The dishes are then tested at home, confirms his wife Marion Ficarra. For example, grilled avocado was added to the menu.
Difficult situation for the hospitality industry in Saxony
Throughout Saxony, the number of employees in the hospitality industry has not yet reached the level before the pandemic. The Hotel and Restaurant Association (Dehoga) provides information on this. In March 2022, there were 63,700 fewer employees subject to social insurance contributions in the hospitality industry in Saxony than in March 2019, according to the Corona balance sheet of Dehoga Sachsen.