The man behind Galleria De Paco

A restaurant unlike any other exists downtown Waterloo. Galleria De Paco. The restaurant is famous for the beautiful paintings and outstanding cuisine. The entire inside is painted as a replica of the Sistine Chapel. The man behind this is Paco Rosic, and his story is an inspiration to many.

Before moving to the United States, the Rosic family lived in Sarajevo, Bosnia, for 12 years of Paco’s life. Bosnia was corrupted with war at the time, so the Rosics fled to Germany. “We left war-torn Bosnia when I was 12 and fled to Germany for a few years. We came to Waterloo, Iowa, because other Bosnians had already settled here. We heard there was a lot of opportunity here and a way to pursue the American dream, which we had heard so much about,” Rosic said.

Rosic has been an artist almost his whole life. In Germany he really began to develop into a skilled aerosol artist.

Rosic loved Germany, so when he was told he had to leave, he fell into a depression. “I missed Germany a lot after I moved here and I was depressed. Painting helped me work through all that and also got my name and my work noticed,” Rosic said.

When the family arrived in Waterloo, they began working and saving up their money. For three years they saved, and Rosic put his talents to work. Rosic did community projects like painting walls of abandoned buildings. “My whole family worked at Hy-Vee for awhile, and we saved and saved until we got the idea to start something on our own — something where we could use my growing ability as an aerosol artist and my parents’ knowledge of business and great food,” Rosic said.

After all their hard work, the Rosics bought an empty building in downtown Waterloo and went to work turning it into Galleria De Paco. Rosic was inspired to spray paint the entire inside into a replica of the Sistine Chapel. Sometimes he would paint for 11 hours straight. For four months Rosic painted every inch of the Sistine Chapel on the walls and ceilings from memory.

When Rosic is hit with inspiration, he runs with it. “For me, it’s all about the creative process. Whatever I’m passionate about comes straight from the heart. Everything I do, I taught myself — built from inspiration. Whether I’m painting, cooking or producing videos … they’re all just different palates where I can express my sense of art. I only do what I love. I’m just pleased and fortunate so many others appreciate it also,” Rosic said.

Rosic has even been acknowledged on television. “I painted and then gave a portrait to Celebrity Chef Rachel Ray after appearing on her national TV show,” Rosic said.

Coming from so little, Rosic has fascinated many. His work has earned him acknowledgements, awards and worldwide press coverage.

Galleria De Paco is located on 622 Commercial Street in Waterloo. The opening hours are Tuesday through Saturday at 5 p.m.

(Starting top left, going clockwise) Rosic painted the walls and ceiling inside his family’s restaurant, Galleria De Paco, as a picture of the Sistine Chapel. Rosic was hired to paint this garbage truck in Florida. A gourmet plate is served at the family’s pristine restaurant downtown Waterloo. And, one of his paintings that he created with spray-paint.

In the last weeks, not only the Cedar Falls community, but the whole country has been dealing with the flu. According to national reports, it reached epidemic proportions with 7.3 percent deaths last week caused by pneumonia and the influenza. Several states have widespread activity level including Iowa, according to Iowa Department of Public Health.

True influenza is primarily a respiratory disease that has main symptoms including headaches, body aches, high fevers and coughs. It is usually of short duration, but for those who don’t take proper care of their bodies, it may last for over a month.

According to CFHS nurse Janet Williams, this year the the percentage of absences from school due to health issues related to the flu got near 5 percent, which is a high rate in comparison with the past years. Holmes Junior High School was more affected, with 18 percent absence due to the flu last week, almost reaching the percentage that would call school off, which is 20 percent.

To follow the student handbook is one of the best ways to prevent the flu spreading. The school suggests that students stay home if they show any symptoms and only come to school after 24 hours without a fever and without taking medicines like Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen, so the risks of contamination decrease.

“One of the hardest things teenagers should do as a prevention is to get proper sleep and nutrition and not smoke. That’s what you can do to make your body stronger,” Williams said. Another way is to get the flu shot or the the flu mist, which early in the season, would be found at doctors’ offices and pharmacies. It is not too late to take them, but as they are produced based on the the previous year, at this point, the availability of the vaccine may be very limited. The real challenge may be to find it.

Once one takes the flu shot, the chances of contamination decrease to about 20 percent. If someone receives the vaccination and still catches the flu, it will most likely be weaker. The costs of the flu shot vary according to each insurance company, but without insurance the dose’s average price is about $30.

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