I really should stop trying to ascribe a special purpose to the opening sequence for each episode of Ristorante Paradiso, except as a prelude to the episode itself, since episode 4, “casetta dell’orso”, starts off with a short snippet with Luciano. And Olga really enjoys watching her employee serve the patrons like a gentleman. It also turns out that Luciano is a smoker. Burn, Luciano, burn! (Not really, he has the common sense to smoke somewhere without other people, and I still like the guy.)
There is a special guest that is supposed to arrive at the restaurant. It is Marcio, one of the original employees of the casetta dell’orso, and his granddaughter. Marcio used to help out in the kitchen, and he is also the second employee hired after GiGi. They can’t start dinner because the owner hasn’t arrived yet, so in the meantime Nicoletta gets to be introduced to the old employee.
At this point we start seeing the past, where Olga had collapsed due to overwork. Her husband, Lorenzo, suggests that they drop by a bar that they frequent after Olga is to be discharged, and Olga is looking forward to seeing a specific bartender again. However, it turns out that the bartender in question had quit when Lorenzo checks out the bar, which is why GiGi shows up for Olga’s discharge from the hospital instead of just Olga and Lorenzo dropping by the bar. Upon hearing that the bartender had quit, she mentions that there weren’t very many bars in Rome with so gentlemanly an employee.
This happened to be at about the same time Lorenzo and GiGi were working on opening a new restaurant with just the waiters left to be hired. GiGi suggests that the bartender that quit might be a good candidate, which was also what Lorenzo had in mind, so they contact the bartender in question, which turns out to be Luciano. While Luciano is reluctant about the offer, as he had ostensibly quit the bar because he was exhausted, although it’s cute how he blushes when it’s pointed out that he wanted to spend more time with his grandchild, Luciano does refer another candidate.
The other candidate that Luciano refers to is Claudio, who had worked at the same restaurant for twenty years but is considering a change of workplace because of the new owner. Sympathizing with Lorenzo’s desire to make his wife happy, Claudio agrees to try to convince Luciano into accepting the offer, while Claudio himself would also seriously consider the offer. In the end, Claudio and Luciano talk each other into working at the new restaurant. And Vito also ends up applying for a job when he sees the sign while jogging, which solicited potential employees who were far-sighted men over the age of fifty.
The casetta dell’orso already has a woman named Vanna and a young man named Dario as chefs, Marcio helping out in the kitchen, and GiGi as the sommelier. And wIth the three new waiters Luciano, Claudio, and Vito, the casetta dell’orso is almost ready to open. But Dario notices how all the waiters are old men, and how everyone except for himself and Lorenzo wears reading glasses. Poor Dario …
After the break, we are back to the present where Nicoletta had been hearing about how the restaurant opened, with Olga and Lorenzo still having not arrived yet. Because the couple is being very late, Nicoletta is assigned to keep Marcio and his granddaughter company, as it would also be a good chance for her to learn more about the restaurant’s history. Nicoletta is especially happy about learning things about Claudio like how he had worked at the same place for twenty years. And Marcio talks about the opening night of the casetta dell’orso, where Lorenzo made Olga really happy with how he thought of her while getting the restaurant ready.
It’s getting quite late when Lorenzo finally arrives, but he arrives alone because his wife is too busy with work, so the dinner with Marcio has to go ahead without Olga. But much later that night, Olga finally gets back home from work to her loving husband who is waiting for her.
This episode was all about how the casetta dell’orso became the gentlemanly restaurant it is, which surprisingly turns out to be all Lorenzo’s doing so that he could please his wife. It also highlights the love between Lorenzo and Olga, although this is for the viewers and not hugely important for Nicoletta, who is more interested in what she learned about Claudio. It does leave me wondering: did Olga start working with Gabriella before or after Claudio was recruited by Lorenzo? It would be an odd coincidence if it was before …