ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A statue outside Villa di Como and 288 Lark Wine & Tap was broken last month by someone walking by. After a month of hard work, chef and owner Ali Celik, was able to rebuild the goddess from its five pieces.
Albany police officers arrived to the scene after a report of vandalism came in, which was caught on security cameras last month. As police looked for the suspect, Celik worked with a team of artisans to reassemble the statue.
“I’m excited to share a glass with my statues again. To us, it felt like forever because we were not happy,” said Celik.
After completing the statue’s restoration, Celik answered a call from Albany police. “It’s very ironic. We finished around Tuesday night, we closed the doors, and APD called us and told us they made an arrest,” explained Celik.
37-year-old Jordan Michael was arrested on May 3, and charged with 2nd degree criminal mischief. Before it was damaged, the statue was estimated to be worth $6,500. The piece is sculpted as an Italian goddess that represents the hospitality and warmth of Italian culture. “This is an attack on the great neighborhood we’re in, historic neighborhood, entire city, whole community,” described Celik.
While celebrating the restoration of the statue, Celik is looking to sell his restaurant and bar. He says he wants more time to focus on his family and his other business and it’s not related to the vandalism. “However, my boys are growing, I want to see them play soccer on the weekend. So I am looking for a farm to move my distillery license and focus on manufacturing,” stated Celik.
While the Celik family is looking for a potential buyer, they say they will still be serving great Italian meals. “Everybody knows restaurants are very tough to sell. To all my guests that have dined in with us, we are not going anywhere until we sell our properties,” said Celik.