He knows almost everyone who sits down, and he darts from the kitchen to the door, welcoming people as they wander in, often asking if they enjoyed their last meal.
The business is Andolini’s Italian Bistro and it recently opened in Maggie Valley. The location has already been abuzz, Chagnon said. But he’s not new to the culinary scene, having opened 19 other restaurants, in Maggie Valley and other parts of the country. And he’s gained loyal customers all along the way.
“It’s all repeat business,” he said. “One couple will come in, and then before you know it they’re bringing their neighbors, and their neighbors are bringing their neighbors.”
John and Frances Derrick were regular customers at Country Vineyard, one of the restaurants Chagnon used to own, but they were excited to try out this new spot.
“Everything we’ve ever eaten [here] has been good,” John said.
Andolini’s is set up to build relationships and loyalty with its customers. Even their Facebook page hosts contests two to three times a week for people to try to win a free meal. The restaurant also offers lunch cards, which allow diners to get a free lunch after they get 10 stamps on their card.
Already the owner of the plaza where Andolini’s stands, Chagnon said he wanted to open a restaurant there, citing the property needed a good place for people to enjoy a meal.
“Restaurants are good draws, and Maggie is a great dining destination,” he said. “Look at all the restaurants we have here. There’s a lot of them — everything you can think of. You can dine around the world here.”
Chagnon said the Southern European atmosphere combined with classic Italian cooking gives diners a unique experience. The dishes are of the utmost quality, with produce bought fresh from the nearby farmer’s market.
“It’s little stuff like that that makes the big difference,” he said.
Andolini’s is open Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. It is located at 2507 Soco Road. For more information call 828.944.0770 or follow them at www.facebook.com/andolinisbistro.