WHEN the Piscioneri families set out to bring a “little piece of Italy to Irymple,” they weren’t sure exactly what that would look like.

“My husband Cosimo always said that he wanted to open a bar,” Miranda Piscioneri explained.

“He has a real love of food, especially Italian food, and before long the idea of a bar turned into what Larry’s Prosciutteria is today.”

The newest hidden gem in Irymple, Larry’s features a “mercato” (market) filled to the brim with imported Italian goods and groceries, local items, gifts and trinkets, “Anna’s Bar” which is stocked with Italian beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks, a deli with cold meats, cheeses and antipasto items, as well as a dining area and large venue space.

From the street, you’d be forgiven for thinking Larry’s is no more than a shed – but step inside and the mental transportation to the streets of Italy is instantaneous.

With fresh herbs adorning the tables of vintage furniture, the smell of fresh coffee, Italian playing cards and music at the forefront, Larry’s is quickly becoming a favourite for locals and visitors alike, Miranda said.

“We wanted to create a place that felt like home, but also like Italy,” she said.

“We have travelled a lot to different parts of Italy over the years, and one thing that’s really consistent is the feeling you get walking into the restaurants and venues over there – it’s lively, it’s casual and it’s fun.

“It feels like you’re stepping into someone’s kitchen at home – that’s what we aim to recreate.”

With deep roots in the Sunraysia region, the Piscioneri family run Larry’s as a team – with brothers and sister-in-laws, parents and in laws all working side by side.

“On any given day, you’ll see myself, Cosimo, Michael and Belinda (Piscioneri), my mother-in-law Anna, and other members of our families as well as our beautiful staff who have become like family around the place,” Miranda said,.

“We’re serving, we’re chatting, my mother-in-law is in the kitchen cooking – we’re all here, all hands on deck.

“It’s a true family-run business in every way.

“Even the name ‘Larry’s’ came from my father-in-law – he passed away before we opened, so while he got to see the bones of the idea, he never got to see it open.

“It’s a way to honour him and include him in the process of what we’ve done here.”

The traditional authentic antipasto offerings, as well as hot foods including arancini balls, pizzas, lasagne, goat ragu, panini, coffee, and gelato are a hit among hungry guests, Miranda said.

“We really try to listen to our customers and give them what they want,” she said.

“It started off small, with antipasto platters but it quickly became obvious that our customers wanted more, so we listened and added in some hot food options that have been so popular.

“We’ve also started doing a more formal dinner experience once a month, which people are really enjoying.”

Miranda admits trying to open a new venue in the midst of COVID-19 was no easy feat, with many setbacks faced along the way.

“It was becoming difficult, with lockdowns, restrictions and all the things that went along with that, but we know in our hearts that this was something really important to do, and I’m so glad we persevered.”

She said the feedback and support the family has received since opening has been “overwhelming.”

“We’ve just been so lucky to have the support that we have,” she said.

“Whether people are popping out for a coffee, a platter, a drink, to shop in the Mercato or to sit down for a meal, we’re grateful for it all and for the chance to welcome people into our Prosciutteria.

“As long as our customers leave content, happy and full, that’s all we could really ask for.”

By ASH FALVO