Mint Plaza has been struggling with the continuing vacancies left by both Chez Papa Resto and Thermidor, but the area's major restaurant survivor, 54 Mint, is looking to liven things up again with an expansion. As Tablehopper reports, partner and wine director Gianluca Legrottaglie has signed a lease on a former Nepalese meditation center at 6th and Stevenson, where he'll be opening a casual spot for pizza and wine called Montesacro.
Named for a rough-and-tumble Roman neighborhood where Legrottaglie used to work, Montesacro will serve a Roman pizza variation called pinsa. Unlike traditional 00 flour pies, pinsa uses a combination of different flours (soy, rice, and wheat), which are left to rise for three days to create a crisp, light pie. He's bringing over a pizzaiolo from Rome to supervise the baking, which will be done in an amazing 100-year-old brick oven that he found hidden behind a wall in the space. (Not even the landlord knew about it; it was apparently a bakery at some point in time, though historical records have been murky.)
In addition to nine different varieties of pinsa, Montesacro will offer house-marinated vegetables, salumi, cheese, salads, and desserts. At lunch, panini will be available to go for the local office crowd. Well-priced Italian beer and wine will be a focus, in the hopes of luring after-work drinkers, though late-night patrons will also be welcomed, with hours until midnight. If all goes as planned, expect Montesacro to arrive in February.