By the time out-of-towners reached Hunky’s and We are 1976, they used to mosey back toward the valet stand.
“Is this all there is?” a tourist from Sweden once asked me.
But now there’s something further, farther along past the Laughing Willow’s inviting cottage boutique and toward the budding South Congress-like future that eventually will line a complete street from the historic Bishop Arts District to Jefferson Boulevard and Top Ten Records.
The early beacon of this young development is Macellaio, the visionary neighborhood bar from Lucia chef David Uygur and wife, Jennifer.
“That’s what I wanted Lucia to be,” the chef says.
Lucia instead turned out to be a five-star restaurant where reservations are needed a month or more out.
Know before you go:Macellaio’s jars of house-made curried peanut butter ($6) and chicken-liver mousse ($8) make festive party-guest gifts.
Where Lucia has 36 seats total, Macellaio has 57, plus a patio. The kitchen is big enough that it produces all the salumi and bread for both restaurants, allowing the Lucia kitchen more room to focus on its glorious handmade pasta. Uygur says he’s worn a path between the front door of Macellaio and the backdoor of Lucia.
Cured meats rule here.
A salumi board could include capicola made with Berkshire pork collar, mortadella smoked with pistachios, rabbit terrine, marbled culatello aged for more than a year or red-wattle pork loin with black pepper and rosemary.
The chef’s board of six choices costs about $30, and the individual salumi board is about $10.
Dinner options could include a $90 wagyu cut or a Berkshire chop for $32. Small plates (think chanterelles en scapece or pommes aligot) and breads (crostini with chicken-liver mousse) for $8-$15.
No reservations necessary. Have a cocktail, glass of wine or beer at the bar and indulge in a mini vacation with a selection of delectable meats or an $8 dessert.
287 N. Bishop Ave.
Hours: Friday-Saturday, 5-10:30 p.m.; Sunday and Tuesday-Thursday, 5-10 p.m.