One night we closed the entire restaurant for Ezequiel “El Pocho” Lavezzi to dine with the Paris Saint-Germain team. The Parisian team had just signed David Beckham, and Lavezzi wanted to watch a match on the television.
PARIS, France ꟷ Every day, I head to my restaurant in Paris called Volver. As soon as I walk in the door, the smells of Argentina hit me. I look up to see jerseys from our greatest soccer players decorating the walls. Often, you can find the players themselves here. We work hard to make them feel at home.
Volver became one of the first-ever fully authentic Argentine restaurants in Paris, or throughout France for that matter. Every worker you encounter is Argentinian. South American athletes feel at home here. We show every soccer match by the Argentina National Fútbol Team, and other sports as well.
When the doors open, the sounds of our land flood your ears. Argentinian music sets the tone. We play the most iconic national rock like El Indio and Patricio Rey y sus Redonditos de Ricota. Argentina’s most symbolic elements mix together inside Volver, as the flavors and experiences bring us closer to home. Oh, and we love to play tango!
When famous athletes arrive at Volver, I protect their privacy by offering a location on the first floor. We do our best to keep people from taking photos and bothering them. On occasion, a player will stand next to a customer and take a photo with them. The French are not nearly as insistent as Argentinians.
We drink Yerba Mate to keep our customs alive. Roasted meat and Argentinian wine grace the tables. The traditional aroma of Argentine barbeque stimulate the senses. You can also smell the empanadas made fresh daily. Each day we prepare the condiments like chimichurri and criolla sauce. We always have the Provoleta ready, with its unmistakable smell of cheese and embers.
I see, feel, and smell it all just like I’m back home.
Once, Ezequiel “El Pocho” Lavezzi requested a table. [Lavezzi joined the Argentina National Fútbol Team in 2007, won an Olympic gold medal in 2008, and reached the FIFA World Cup in 2014. In 2012, he signed with the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club and began representing France.]
I assured Lavezzi he would be well taken care of. He graciously waited for 40 minutes at the bar for a table to become available. When he saw me that night, through laughter, he said, “It is true, this restaurant is just like being in Argentina, because you deceived me like an Argentinian!”
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He continued to come back. One night we closed the entire restaurant for him, to dine with the Paris Saint-Germain team. The Parisian team had just signed David Beckham, and Lavezzi wanted to watch a match on the television.
Beckham was one of the first guests to arrive. He had a formal air about him. We took good care of everyone, but suddenly, the power went out. The red light failed to bring the game back up. In that moment, Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic asked for the remote control. He figured out that the broadcast stream stopped responding in HD, so he lowered the quality, and they continued watching the game.
In that moment, I understood that while these are mega stars, they are also people just like the rest of us. That’s why we serve them the way we do.
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