The gastronomic restaurant of Castéra-Verduzan has been passed down from generation to generation since 1935. Baptiste Ramounéda took over from his father in 2013 and revived the original spirit of the inn.
At Florida, the story hangs on the wall of the dining room: four frames are hung for four black and white family photographs. “When I took over the establishment, I wanted to modernize the decoration, while finding a balance with tradition”, explains Baptiste Ramouneda, the current manager of the Castéra-Verduzan establishment.
To the historic family furniture have therefore been added contemporary and artisanal decorative objects. The restaurant has also taken a leap into the past: “I wanted to bring back to life the original spirit and what was the keystone of Florida: the inn”, specifies the one who represents the fourth generation of hoteliers restorers.
“La casa florida”
The history of the Castéroise institution dates back to 1935, when Angèle Abadie, great-grandmother of Baptiste Ramouneda, then servant to a wealthy family, inherited the house, located at the corner of rue de l’église and Lake Street. She opened an inn there. “She served sweetbreads and local products, says her descendant. Customers came from everywhere and many curists stayed at the inn”. On weekends, the restaurant takes on the air of a dance hall. The story of the restaurant then begins, under the name “Abadie”.
“My great-grandmother loved flowers and used to have them everywhere, says Baptiste Ramouneda. At that time, there were many Spanish refugees in the Gers and described the building as “la casa florida”, the flowery house. And the name “Florida” remained”.
Later, Angèle Abadie’s two daughters help out at the restaurant. “From 14-15 years old, we see them in photos in aprons”, assures Baptiste Ramouneda. And it is therefore quite natural that the filiation is made with Paulette Abadie, the mother of Bernard Ramouneda, at the end of the 1960s. The house also follows the evolution of society and is transformed with the explosion of tourism. “In the 1970s, the hotel part was reoriented towards catering, specifies Baptiste Ramounéda. The rooms were destroyed and were transformed into a banquet hall in order to sometimes accommodate more than 100 people”.
Combine modernity and tradition
For a few years, Bernard Ramouneda, who grew up surrounded by tables and the kitchen, worked alongside his mother before she retired in the mid-1980s. “My father then wanted to raise his kitchen to a new level. more gastronomic, a little finer, presents Baptiste Ramouneda. But he continued to offer traditional cuisine with products from the South-West”. The establishment then becomes a reference in the department.
But the family saga almost stopped at the third generation: “At 18, I left Castéra-Verduzan, recognizes the current owner of the inn. I needed to see new horizons”. He then worked for almost 15 years in Paris, in the luxury and fashion industry as a sales representative. But the Gersois keeps “the Florida in a corner of [sa] head”.
Back in 2012, with the “alignment of the planets”, he opened a period of transition with his father before taking up the torch in 2013 and in turn making some changes. “Florida’s DNA is restoration and I didn’t want to erase the history of the house, assures Baptiste Ramouneda. I even went back a little, by transforming the large hall into bedrooms, to find this inn side”. The restaurant’s menu is also evolving, with the introduction of seasonal menus while retaining Florida’s signature dishes, including sweetbreads, Angèle Abadie’s specialty. “You have to live with the times, says Baptiste Ramouneda. However, I wanted to create something that has its history, but with modernity”.