Credit: Tina Su

The Villa, an Italian restaurant in Wayland, is a source of good memories and family history for many Wayland residents in the community. With dine-in and takeout options, customers can order food from The Villa in their preferred means. The Villa manager, Chelsea Fisher, gives WSPN’s Tina Su a look into The Villa’s history and its inner workings.

The Villa: A Piece of Wayland History

A restaurant over 100 years old, The Villa holds family history and memories within their walls. Right off Route 30, the bright red building draws customers in with the captivating smells of authentic Italian cuisine and the bustling atmosphere. Open from noon to 10 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, along with takeout available from noon to 9 p.m., the Villa is a popular restaurant in the community.

Chelsea Fisher, one of the managers of the Villa, shares her personal family history with the Villa.

“The Villa started as ‘The Studio’ back in the ‘20s and ‘30s,” Fisher said. “My grandmother and my great-grandmother both worked at ‘The Studio’ when my grandfather was away in WWII and my grandmother was pregnant. She didn’t work so much at her regular day job so she just worked up a couple of hours.”

The Studio was the name of the restaurant before the Villa, when there were different owners. The owners continued to prioritize incorporating family history into their restaurant in ‘The Studio’ as well.

“The current owner, Richard, bought it from a man named Norman McDonald in the ‘50s or ‘60s. He worked with his dad and he is still the owner now,” Fisher said. “He’s had it for about 50 years, so [he probably bought it] in the ‘70s.”

While the restaurant’s name changed with the ownership, the ambience still remains the same. This aspect of the Villa is what has attracted customers over the years.

“It’s really keeping the original stuff; that’s what people come for, that’s what they know, they like that everything is the same as it was when they came here all those years ago,” Fisher said.

The most unique part of the Villa seems to be the family-oriented atmosphere customers can feel as soon as they walk into the restaurant. While the Villa is a part of Fisher’s family history, the restaurant is also a part of the customers’ lives.

“We have a lot of regular customers that come in, once a week, and they’ve been coming here since they were young,” Fisher said. “They came here on their first date and then they bring their grandkids here, and they bring generations and generations of [family members] that we get to know as their family to us as well.”

The Villa is a popular spot for families and young adults alike. When asked their favorite dishes from the Villa, many answers were similar.

“Chicken parm dinner with penne and house Italian dressing,” wellness teacher John Berry said.

“[It’s] the best chicken parm around,” junior Ryan Desmond said.

However, when COVID-19 hit, these regulars as well as new customers could no longer come in. COVID-19 has impacted the Villa’s ability to host dine-in customers, but they have since been able to adjust and continue their business’s success through takeout orders.

“For a while, we had to do just takeout only, and then people were really cautious to come in and dine in to the restaurant with all of the new outbreaks and surges and all of that,” Fisher said. “It really fluctuates the business a lot.”

Even now as we are returning back closer to normalcy, takeout has stayed a consistent source of customers who are still cautious about dining in.

“We are really lucky to do a lot of takeout business [in the past].” Fisher said. “Takeout was maybe 20% of our business and now it’s 50%, if not more, of our business. We are really lucky that that’s what has kept us alive throughout.”

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