With La Ginestra in the midst of its 50th Anniversary Celebration this week, the Mill Valley City Council honored the restaurant’s owners, the Aversa family, with a proclamation at its September 2nd meeting.

“We’re so glad that we can celebrate this with you,” Mayor Stephanie Moulton-Peters told Maria, Fabio, Tino and Ann Aversa Tuesday night before reading the proclamation.

Salvatore and Maria Aversa moved to Mill Valley as a recently married couple after emigrating from Sorrento, Italy. They opened their restaurant in May 1964 and named it La Ginestra after the Scotch broom vegetation that was prevalent in both the wilderness of Mount Tamalpais and in the hills surrounding their hometown.

The couple raised their three children – Lucia, Fabio and Tino – in Mill Valley. Fabio Aversa recounted to the Council a story about the family closing the restaurant briefly in 1965 so they could return to Italy for one month. At the end of the trip, Salvatore Aversa told his wife that he’d go back to Mill Valley to re-open the restaurant, and “that if nobody shows up, I’ll pack everything back up and come back to Italy,” Fabio Aversa said. Instead, he found flowers and welcome back signs and notes outside the restaurant.

“What a testament that is to this community,” Fabio Aversa said. “It’s a great place and we’re so happy to serve all of you and to continue to do so.”

As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration, La Ginestra has asked its customers to share their memories and tributes to the restaurant on its Facebook page. Here’s a sampling:

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