Kim Strengari (left) and Marianne Gere first crossed paths as 20-something bartenders in Bryn Mawr. Their first of many ventures: Maid in the USA, a cleaning business they still own today. Then came the Small Affair catering company.
But aspirations of opening their own restaurant loomed. They took that leap of faith in 2000, opening Bella Luna in Bryn Mawr. “Some nights, we’d leave the restaurant at almost midnight, and go and clean offices,” Strengari recalls.
After three years on Lancaster Avenue, the pair moved to Stella Blu in Conshohocken. By 2007, they’d opened the Gypsy Saloon down the street, and the duo recently launched Stella Blu Catering. “We’ve been working together for 22 years,” says Strengari. “We’re similar, but different in a lot of ways.”
Thankfully, the similarities outweigh the differences. “We’re like family,” says Gere. “We may have disagreements but, at the end of the day, we always work through things.”