Want to feel like you’re at a Hogwarts Christmas party? Or perhaps you’d rather experience the holidays “under the sea.” Either way, this Italian restaurant in Southington, Connecticut, is the place to go.
Cava Restaurant has turned its dining rooms into a winter wonderland with decorations inspired by scenes from “Harry Potter,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Frozen.”
According to manager Tony Papahristou, there are more than 20,000 ornaments and 100,000 lights throughout the restaurant. “People are blown away from the moment they walk in the door,” he told TODAY Home. And it’s easy to understand why once you see inside.
This is the 10th anniversary of the restaurant decorating for the holidays and each year, they give every room a different theme. Past themes have included “The Great Gatsby,” “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
Papahristou said they usually spend around $20,000 on new decorations each year, incorporating the old with the new. This year, there’s around $100,000 worth of decorations in the building.
In the “Harry Potter” room, diners will find an homage to the Gryffindor House. The room features floating candles, hung with magician string. Illuminated presents and upside-down trees hang from the ceiling, making it feel as if someone has cast a spell on the objects (Harry? Is that you?). The ornaments are in Gryffindor’s colors of gold and red.
A custom-made replica of the infamous chandelier in “The Phantom of the Opera” hangs in the next room, which is decorated as a nod to the famous Broadway play. Papahristou said the decor includes commissioned artwork and some more subtle touches from the show.
You can also dine in Ursula’s lair from “The Little Mermaid.” The room’s color scheme is purple and black and features giant ornate tentacles suspended from the ceiling and walls. Clear ball ornaments that resemble bubbles hang from above, giving off the effect that you’re under water.
And the “Frozen” room is surrounded by hundreds of glistening icicles. If it’s too cold, you can warm up with a cup of the restaurant’s specialty hot cocoa at the bar.
What’s even more special about these decorations is that they were all put up by the staff of the restaurant. It took five weeks to complete the massive project.
Papahristou said people have been coming from different surrounding states just to see it. If you’re nearby and want to check it out, you have until Feb. 3 to see this year's decorations in person.