Antico’s Giovanni Di Palma expands his empire, Bottega Luisa to open next weekend

The artisan Italian grocery is part of the planned Piazza San Gennaro
The interior of Bottega Luisa

Photographs courtesy of Giovanni Di Palma

Giovanni Di Palma—owner of Antico Pizza, Caffe Gio, and Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano—is opening his latest venture to family and friends this weekend. Located across from Antico, Bottega Luisa is an artisan Italian grocery selling authentic goods imported from Naples, including many of the ingredients Di Palma uses at Antico and Gio’s. Bottega Luisa will be open to the public next week.

Bottega Luisa is located at 1 Piazza San Gennaro. Its operating hours are still up in the air, but likely 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

Named after Di Palma’s grandmother, the Bottega commemorates the 100th anniversary of when his family came to America from Naples.

“The inventory will build over the first thirty days into, eventually, what I want it to be,” Di Palma says. “I don’t do grand openings; we’ll just put the sign up and let people walk through and buy some stuff.”

Items for sale include Gio’s salad dressing, wood-roasted peppers, flavored oils, olive oil, olives, cherry tomatoes, butter, and fine chocolates. All of the cheeses used at Di Palma’s restaurants will be available for purchase either shredded or chunk: buffalo mozzarella, pecorino, parmigiano-reggiano, provolone, and more.

Meats like salumi will be sliced and packed in vacuum-sealed containers, so customers can make sandwiches at home. Speaking of which, Di Palma has partnered with Linton Hopkins of H&F Bread Co. to make and sell Westside Italian bread—the kind served at Gio’s—by the loaf.

In addition to dried pastas from Italy, Bottega Luisa will have a cooler full of prepared pastas made daily, as well as pre-breaded cutlets for chicken parmesan, panzerotti (a calzone-like Italian street food), and wood-roasted artichokes and zucchini. Cookies, cheesecakes, and gelato will be available, too. Di Palma also plans to bring in local chefs every Saturday to prepare and sell his or her favorite Italian dish.

The front of the store will be dedicated to illy coffee. Di Palma will sell the brand’s coffeemakers (for both businesses and residential homes), as well as hot and cold beverages. A separate room will stock branded apparel like hats and T-shirts. “People have been asking for our shirts for four years,” Di Palma says. “They’re fashionable. Everything references the neighborhood: Piazza San Gennaro, Westside Atlanta.”

A 10-seat private dining area in the market will be set aside for celebrities, family, friends, and special events—and only after hours. There, Di Palma will serve a special menu with antipasti with olives and cheeses; pizza; pasta and chicken; and dessert with gelato, cakes, and cappuccino.

Come May, Di Palma is considering creating a small outdoor weekend market in the “For Sale” area near Luisa’s for seafood and produce.

As for those individual pizzas rumored to be available on days when Antico is closed? Those are coming later with Bar Amalfi. They will be appetizer size, margarita-style with possibly one topping.

To those concerned about how all the new businesses will impact the already-crowded parking lots, Di Palma says rest assured. “We will unveil parking plans prior to the bar opening. It will allow for hundreds of people to park. We’ll have a valet option, an express takeout option, some sort of park and ride on 14th Street, and a small shuttle around the neighborhood.”