The fat lady has sung for Bergamo’s.
The Italian restaurant that for two decades entertained tourists in the International Drive corridor has closed. Darren Shepherd, general manager of Festival Bay Mall, confirmed that the restaurant closed two weeks ago and “it doesn’t look like they’ll reopen.”
Bergamo’s, which featured waiters who would take turns at the piano in “center stage” of the restaurant to sing everything from opera to Broadway show tunes, moved to the Festival Bay Mall in 2007 after its original location in the Mercado shopping complex farther down I-Drive, where it had been since 1990, was slated for demolition. Bergamo’s offered a unique entertainment opportunity: to enjoy an Italian dinner and be serenaded by talented singers, some classically trained and supplementing income while striving for a stage career.
Several Bergamo’s alumni have gone on to work in musical theater. Malena Mesa, who worked at Bergamo’s in the past, said she is still in touch with several former co-workers who now work in opera and theater. Kristin Chavez, a mezzo-soprano, works primarily with overseas opera companies, and Kristin Patterson, another mezzo-soprano, lives in New York but travels throughout the U.S. to perform. Wren Harrington went from serving pasta and singing at Bergamo’s to play Carlotta in Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
For me, Bergamo’s was more about the entertainment than about the food. But in my 2007 review, after the move, I found the food had improved greatly, and the new venue, a grandiloquent rotunda, was the perfect venue. A restaurant like Bergamo’s was just the sort of thing tourists look for in Orlando.