Valencia Street counter service pasta restaurant Barzotto is taking its momentum to North Beach, where a second, larger location is bound for 500 Columbus Avenue. That attractive restaurant space at the flatiron corner of Stockton is the former home of Caffe Delucchi, which closed in September after 18 years in business.
Barzotto founder/owner Marko Sotto says the restaurant’s second location will keep the same dining format and menu as the first: Order at the counter and get a buzzer, then take seat, where you’ll receive your food. “Extra long noodles,” a spaghetti with marinara and pork and turkey meatballs, is a bestseller, and other popular dishes include porchetta boards and gelato for dessert. All wines are $10 a glass and $40 a bottle.
Barzotto North Beach could open as soon as late summer or early fall, says Sotto. And with a larger space for a commissary kitchen, it will replace the existing location’s commissary, which is located near the restaurant on Cesar Chavez.
Barzotto’s first location opened in 2016 with all the typical trappings of a full-service restaurant (elegant stemware, soft lighting, and marble tables) but no dedicated servers in an increasingly popular trend. Michelle Minori, an alum of Flour + Water and Acquerello, originally lead the kitchen as executive chef: She parted ways with Barzotto in the fall and competed on this season of Top Chef. Minori is still plotting her next professional move (though chef and Top Chef judge Sean Brock pronounced that he wanted to hire her after tasting her red snapper dish).
Minori’s success on Top Chef surely redounds to the benefit of Barzotto’s brand. But according to Sotto, the “the big break” for business came from a BuzzFeed “worth it” video (featuring Minori) that aired in the fall, in which BuzzFeed’s reviewers determined Barzotto’s $15 extra long spaghetti with meatballs was better than the much pricier pastas at Cento and Republique in LA. Customers at the restaurant frequently mention the segment, Sotto says.
“There seems to be a lot of traction with our audience, so we don’t want to miss this opportunity.”
Sotto himself has been way from the day-to-day operations of Barzotto, managing Michelin-starred Mister Jiu’s in Chinatown. That’s part of the plan, he says: “Barzotto is a concept that we want to be able to grow and sustain. We don’t want it to be too attached to one individual.”
That said, Sotto just left Mister Jiu’s to focus on opening the new Barzotto. He hopes to follow that with two more locations in San Francisco before expanding nationally, perhaps with franchises.