"We don't have a name yet. The project is that new," says Blotta. "It will be Italian and we'll have a wood-burning oven for pizza, a wood-burning grill — and a full bar. I'm excited about that. I love a Negroni."
Architect Osvaldo Maiozzi (Rivera, Petty Cash, Republique, etc.) will design the 120-seat restaurant, which will include an outdoor patio. Part of the plan is to enlarge the windows to bring in more light and show off the wood-burning oven via an open kitchen.
The chef and partner will be Don Dickman, executive chef of barbrix. A decade ago, he was chef-owner of Rocca, an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica. He's most excited about the wood-burning oven. He tried cooking in one at a friend's house recently and loved it. "The oven will be the centerpiece of the restaurant," he says. "We'll be doing pizza, of course, but lots of other things from vegetables to roasted meats, maybe even some whole fish."
His menu will be along the lines of a traditional Italian restaurant with lots of antipasti and salads, salumi, but with pizza and housemade pasta as the focal points. Main courses will be $20 and under. Blotta emphasizes that it won't be too fancy or expensive. "We want it to be affordable."
Blotta, who was wine director and manager at Campanile in years past, will be putting together a mostly Italian and Californian wine list. He plans on having an extensive lineup of wines by the glass that changes constantly. And at this locale, for the first time, he'll be able to get into cocktails in a big way.
In Los Angeles, building out a restaurant always seems to take much longer than anyone on the project ever anticipates. Still, Blotta is betting on April or May of next year for the opening. "There goes my trip to the World Cup in Brazil in June!, " he says, laughing.
If all goes well, he'll be taking reservations and watching the games on the big screen here.