Mother, daughter team up to create Italian restaurant

Published 10:22 pm Saturday, March 22, 2008

NATCHEZ — A mother-daughter duo are keeping it all in the family with their new restaurant Ve’Gyarne Pasta Garden.

“It’s 99.9 percent family owned and operated,” manager Vickie Green said.

This quaint Italian restaurant on Martin Luther King Jr. Street, with its dim lighting, strings of white lights, bubbling fountains and reservation-only nooks, has been packed since its opening last Saturday, Green said.

Email newsletter signup

The idea to open the restaurant was spearheaded by Engwin Green, Vickie and Edwin Green’s daughter.

Engwin was attending Texas Southern University in Houston as a business major when she began talking to her mother about opening a restaurant.

“My mom thought it was something we should go in to,” Engwin said.

Vickie, who used to own a seafood and pasta restaurant across the street, is in charge of the cooking, while Engwin tackles the rest.

“She’s the brains of it all, I’m just the cook,” Vickie said.

The mother-daughter team began with just a shell of a building.

“We built from the floor up,” Vickie said.

In about four months, they added tables and chairs, the kitchen, the check out counter, a small stage and all the décor.

“The décor was pretty much me,” Engwin said.

A stage is intended for live bands that will be featured on Saturdays.

The jazz band that played for Ve’Gyarne’s opening night received good response, Vickie said.

In fact, response has been all around good, Vickie said.

“We’ve had awesome response,” Vickie said. “The buzz going around is that you would only see something like this in big cities, the ambience we provide.”

And big cities are where Engwin sees her future in the restaurant business.

The 2006 Natchez High School graduate transferred to Co-Lin from Texas Southern so she could start the restaurant and will graduate this year. She wants the restaurant to have stability before she branches out to other locations.

She said she would like to move back to Texas and open a restaurant in Houston.

But her vision doesn’t stop there.

“I see us having chain restaurants all over the world,” Engwin said.

The restaurant may not have much trouble finding stability, based on how successful it’s been in its first week, Green said.

Since the doors have been opened, we’ve been slammed,” Vickie said. “There’s hasn’t been a slow day yet.”

During lunch hours, they even have to start a waiting list.

Vickie said the restaurant prides itself in service and homemade foods.

From Italian-American staples such as lasagna and spaghetti to seafood and chicken pastas, Vickie said the list goes on and on.

She said the restaurant carries special deserts, such as her Godiva liqueur chocolate truffle cake and cheesecake with Disaronno graham cracker curst.

The staff of five is mostly family members and the Greens prefer it that way.

“I think family is nice to work with, they’re easy to cooperate with, everybody has the same vision, there’s no backstabbing,” Engwin said. “Everything is positive when you have family (working together.)”

Vickie said a five-member staff is all they need.

“We’re small but very mighty, small but swift,” she said.

She said all of this could not have happened without her husband, Edwin.

“If it wasn’t for him, it wouldn’t be possible for (Engwin,)” Vickie said.

Ve’Gyarne is open Tuesday through Saturday with lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and dinner from 4:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, dinner hours are extended until 10 p.m.

The bands featured on Saturdays perform between 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.