At age 74, Roberto Broglia knows it would be rather optimistic to sign a five-year lease for his iconic Pasta Mia. Which is why the owner of the Adams Morgan red-sauce house is still negotiating a new deal with the landlord, who apparently wanted a half-decade commitment.
"If something happens to me, what are we going to do?" says Broglia, his accent as thick as Bolognese. "The age is the age."
Broglia wants a shorter lease, in the six-month range, with an option to renew for another six months. He also wants the landlord to fix the stupid air conditioning, which has been broken for months. There may be snow on the ground today, but Broglia can already feel the humidity on his skin. He's not about to sweat out another summer with some poor window unit wheezing to keep up with the warm air that rushes into the place every time a customer walks in the door.
The owner even has a negotiating tactic: "If I walk out now," Broglia says he has argued to his landlord, "you still have to fix the air conditioning."
Broglia thinks a deal will get done, probably in a couple of weeks. He likes his landlord, he says. Both sides just need to figure out how much a new AC unit will run and how they'll split the costs.
In the meantime, Broglia says he'll remain open past Friday, Feb. 28, when his current lease expires.
"We are open," promises Broglia, who has run Pasta Mia in the same space for more than 20 years, often with a line of customers waiting outside the door. "I already told [the landlord] that I'm going to send the next month's rent."
Pasta Mia, 1790 Columbia Rd. NW. 202-328-9114.