Che Fico’s culinary chops will be on display via chefs David Nayfeld and Angela Pinkerton’s menu of rustic Italian food starting Wednesday. But the restaurant itself will be equally as stunning at opening, featuring a lofty second floor space filled with warm colors and massive skylights, with an inviting and spacious dining room.
Designed by Jon de la Cruz of DLC ID (Leo’s Oyster Bar, Protégé), the former auto body shop has been modified to incorporate the original wooden beams of the space, mixing exposed concrete floors and walls with vibrant patterns to create a simultaneously warm and industrial effect.
Starting with the custom wallpaper featuring fig trees — a nod to the name Che Fico, which translates to “what a fig!” or “that’s cool” in Italian — that lead into the dining room, diners are welcomed into a space that boasts both modern and traditional Italian elements.
Salumi has its own special curing area in the dining room, a red-walled, climate-controlled walk-in with large windows to give diners a glimpse of the hanging meats (note: the salumi won’t be ready at opening). Across the room, the bar has 15 seats at the zinc counter, with some smaller tables and booths along the windows and walls. The centerpiece of the room, however, is the communal table that will host both large parties and groups of mixed sizes.
The kitchen, including the imported Italian pizza oven and wood grill, is open to the dining room across a marble countertop, part of which is reserved as a chef’s counter. Between the kitchen and the start of the dining room is the large oak table used for rolling pasta by hand; it’s also where Nayfeld keeps his tools in the drawers of a large, industrial tool chest.
At the bar, which includes plenty of standing space with a railing against the windows, bar director Christopher Longoria (1760 Restaurant) and wine director Francesca Maniace (Commonwealth) will offer a wine list heavy on Italian regions, and cocktails using ingredients from the kitchen.
When the restaurant opens on Wednesday, it will serve dinner Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m.- 11 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m.- 1 a.m.