In a world of tasting menus, Marko Sotto (former director of operations for Adriano Paganini's restaurant group) thought it would be nice to have a place where more people can afford to eat out, more often. The resulting concept, Barzotto, is Sotto's first foray as a restaurateur and will be a "fine casual" pasta-focused restaurant.
Taking over the former St. Vincent space, Barzotto aims to offer diners high-quality, but affordable pasta dishes. Michelle Minori has signed on as chef, leaving her position as executive chef of Ne Timeas restaurant group (Flour + Water, Aatxe, Central Kitchen, Cafe du Nord, Salumeria) to design a menu of simple but high-quality pastas.
The concept has underlying proletarian ideals— Sotto told Eater that the San Francisco dining climate is making it very hard to open a restaurant, much less eat in one. "Pasta is historically a peasant food," said Sotto. "It was made to feed a lot of people. Right now the people who cook the pasta can't afford to eat the pasta." The low costs of making pasta in-house, combined with counter service style, will allow the restaurant to pay staff more and lower prices for the diner, according to Sotto. It's also scaleable, which is something Sotto studied carefully when working with empire builder Paganini (Super Duper, Beretta, Delarosa). That means that there could be more Barzottos in the Bay Area's future, though Sotto it will take time to fine-tune the concept before moving in that direction.
Menu items will range from $11 to $19, including staples like cacio e pepe and bucatini all' amatriciana, alongside rotating seasonal pastas, salads, roasted meats and vegetable sides— all of which will be available for takeout. The pasta assembly line will be in view of diners, taking over what was formerly St. Vincent's bar area, with cooks rolling, cutting and extruding pasta by hand. There'll also be a retail component, offering handmade pasta to cook at home, as well as beer and wine to go.
If all goes according to plan, the restaurant will open at the end of July for lunch and dinner. Stay tuned for more details.