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La Ginestra Reopens Friday

Venerable Italian restaurant, opened in 1964 by the Aversa family, removed wooden awning to expose old windows.

One of Mill Valley's oldest landmarks just got a back-to-the-future facelift.

La Ginestra, located at 127 Throckmorton Ave., is set to reopen Friday with a new façade after its owners, the Aversa family, had an old wooden awning removed. The awning removal exposed a row of 20 windows that date back to before Sal and Maria Aversa bought the business in 1964.

Their son Fabio Aversa said he also used the brief closure of the Southern Italian restaurant to redo the interior of the space a bit and replace the kitchen flooring. Former Mill Valley Mayor Chris Raker served as the project's architect.

"It was time to make a few small changes," Aversa said. "We were excited to see how well the original façade had been preserved."

Before the Aversa family opened La Ginestra, 127 Throckmorton Ave. was Esposti's candy shop and soda fountain, which opened in 1914. The popular store was operated by Delemo and Ettore Esposti, brothers who had moved to Mill Valley from their native town of Bologna, Italy. In 1936, the brothers remodeled the interior of their store to accommodate a restaurant.

The Aversas bought the business and renamed it La Ginestra after a type of flower in their native southern Italy that had similarities to a flower that is prevalent in Mill Valley, Fabio Aversa said.

The Aversas have been the subject of much criticism in recent years following the closure of the Sweetwater, which was located in an adjacent building the family owns but closed when the Aversa renovated the building and raised the rent. For more than 30 years, the legendary music venue was home to countless local musicians, including the likes of Jerry Garcia, Carlos Santana, and Bonnie Raitt.

Lou Judson June 29, 2011 at 03:27 PM
Regarding the Sweetwater aspect of this article - They did NOT renovate the building Sweetwater was in, merely raised the rent. It stands empty to this day! While the new oowners were ot innocent of missteps at all, it was another sad day when a real estate deal killed culture - I still mourn KJAZ for being put off the air by a real estate deal gone bad...

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