Gessetto Wine Bar – the communication club
After I sold Osteria Marsalino in 2011, I tried my hand at creating a bar with light, counter-service restaurant. I worked up a communication strategy for the club with specific, non-traditional foods. I worked out the marketing with several key elements. I deposited the original brand “Gessetto – find your spirit” and I decided to use a historical, direct marketing tool: the blackboard. So I placed a vintage 70s blackboard (gessetto means chalk in Italian) inside the main bar area where people could write down their opinions, solve enigmas, talk about Bologna and Italy, reflect on music or philosophy: communication was free-flowing. The concept of freedom was projected onto one of the products that expresses freedom more than anything else: water. On one side of the bar, there was a water dispenser where customers could get their own water for free. In the land of bottled mineral water, this was truly revolutionary. I always thought that water was something that belongs to everyone and that we should offer water as a service and not as a product with a price tag.
I chose to offer a single line of sandwiches using just one type of bread, the “baguette”, filled with an incredible variety of condiments. There were three types of cold plates. First of all “make-your-own-sandwich” served with separate ingredients that the customer assembles on their own; then freely created mixed salads with ingredients selected by the customer from a list; ethno soup du jour, for example gulash or vegetable cous-cous. This was the club’s menu that along with the aperitivo, later the self-service buffet was replaced with a table service offering of wooden cutting boards loaded with all types of tasty finger foods.
I gave lots of space to Italian wines and international cocktails and IPA beers. Even today Gessetto Wine Bar is seen as the home for free speech and a pitstop for body and soul, even just for coffee and a glass of free water!