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New ownership takes over the Rainbow
Auburn's Rainbow Café has new owners.
Linda Douglas, who owned the restaurant for nearly three years, sold the business to Giovanni and Clarissa Di Quattro on Nov. 2 for an undisclosed price.
Douglas said this week she plans to hang around town for a while and help the new owners before she sets out on the road to do some traveling.
"Obviously, I want him to be successful, but it's very hard to leave it. I put a lot into it. I've had a few emotional days. It's just something personal inside of me. I want to do something different, but I don't know what it is yet. There's a big world out there," Douglas said.
Di Quattro had had his eye on the Rainbow for years. His first opportunity to buy it was in 1986 but he didn't have the bucks to make it happen just then.
He was thinking about it again before Douglas purchased the restaurant in January 2011.
"I started looking about a year ago ... at two or three restaurants in Auburn, but when this came up and Linda had decided to sell, I knew its history, I knew all about it," Di Quattro said. "I think the first time I came into this restaurant was probably 1958. So I knew about it and how much work Linda had put into it. I decided to go into it."
Di Quattro explained what he intends to do.
"I'm not going to change it," Di Quattro said. "It's too big of an icon to do that. As for my plans, I've got to get the dinner crowd up, so I'm going to do some changing as far as the dinner items. I'm going to put on a lot of specials and some Italian food. We're going to give Don Giovanni's a run with some of the food. But they're high end — we're more of a café-type deal. I want to put out café-type Italian food, spaghetti, lasagna, things of the sort that you eat at home and want to eat when you go out."
Di Quattro, a native of Sicily, was a member of the first Italian family to immigrate to Auburn after World War II. He speaks fluent Sicilian.
A 1971 Auburn High School graduate, he has been in the food industry his whole life.
"I worked fast food while I was in high school, and then I went to culinary school. I've been traveling and have been a sous chef in the local area, a head chef and was an in-house chef for a major food distributor in Seattle," he said. "The last three years I worked as an executive chef for a large world-wide catering company on the North Slope in Alaska. But I got tired of being away from home.
"I want to continue the growth that Linda started. She basically brought a restaurant back to life that was ready to fold. Right now I'm getting my feet wet. As soon as I get it running smoothly, I'll be back in the kitchen with the kitchen crew," Di Quattro said.