The first thing visitors to Theorita will see when it opens beneath its buzzing upstairs sibling Che Fico next week will probably be pie: Shelf after shelf of it on a five-foot tall antique pie stand.
“You’ll see it from the window outside,” says pastry chef and Theorita partner Angela Pinkerton, “and the window is eye level, so you’ll have pies in your eyes right when you walk in.”
Pinkerton, Che Fico’s pastry chef, has been a driving force behind that new restaurant’s serious success (hello, Bon Appétit Hot Ten). But Theorita will be her real playground: An all-day dinette and bakery reminiscent of the places Pinkerton would frequent with her grandmother, Theorita, in Northern Ohio.
“It’s built from my experience,” says Pinkerton. “It’s my baby.”
That said, the diner experience is fairly universal. “It’s a classic: At least in my lifetime, [a diner] the place you went to with your parents or grandparents,” says Pinkerton. “It’s a comfortable place, and it holds a lot of memories from when you’re a kid.”
Pinkerton’s partners at Theorita are Che Fico partner Matt Brewer and chef David Nayfeld, who is collaborating with her on the savory food menu. “We’re taking that simple [diner style] menu and using excellent ingredients,” Pinkerton says.
Ahead of Theorita’s opening next week, here are six key things to know:
It’s open morning ’til night
Theorita will be be open for quick service breakfast and lunch, with baked goods available from a pastry case up front. At night, it will transition to full service.
Pinkerton and co. want it to be “the kind of place you go to in the morning for your coffee or bring your family to for dinner on Friday night.”
They’re bringing back the danish
“I really wanna bring the danish back,” says Pinkerton, who didn’t have a lot of croissants in her life as a young person. She’ll also have “a really awesome pecan sticky bun,” tweaking the classic to make it “a little lighter on the palate and maybe the thighs.”
The fries will be buttered
Expect some “really killer french fries” courtesy of butter. “It’s really simple, but it’s something when I used to go to the luncheonette with my grandma, I remember just loving,” Pinkerton says.
The burger will require several napkins
Like at their pre-Che Fico pop-ups, Nayfeld and Pinkerton will be serving sizable burgers at Theorita, plus chicken sandwiches with homemade Sriracha.
Pie will be available for breakfast
At Che Fico, Pinkerton serves perfectly spherical gelato scoops on top of crostatas. Expect pie to get a similar treatment at Theorita. She also thinks pie pairs well with wine, and that “it’s really fun when people eat pie for breakfast,” so that’s always an option
There’s a window into the pastry kitchen
Right at the end of the dining room at Theorita is a window into the pastry kitchen through which patrons will see Pinkerton and co. laminating danishes and making pie dough. It’s a symbolic, meaningful glimpse into the world of pastry cooking.
“Unfortunately, pastry is sometimes the afterthought,” Pinkerton says. “You can tell from some dessert menus sometimes. So for me, it being my restaurant, I really wanted the pastry team to be part of the spotlight. I don’t want people to forget what’s going into what they’re experiencing.”