New creperie, table service at Little Italia, plus a mozzarella and ravioli bar

Giovanni Di Palma shares his latest expansion plans
Courtesy of Giovanni Di Palma
Courtesy of Giovanni Di Palma

He’s at it again. Giovanni Di Palma, founder of Westside’s Little Italia (Antico Pizza Napoletana, Gio’s Chicken Amalfitano, Caffe Gio, Bar Amalfi, and Bottega Luisa), is about to open a reservation-only, sit-down restaurant called Ventisette, which translates to 27 in Italian, on September 27th.

Located in two private rooms inside Bottega Luisa, Ventisette will offer food from all of Di Palma’s restaurants, plus select items unique to the restaurant. There will be a sommelier, servers dressed in white jackets and bowties, and a curated beverage menu complete with grappa, amaro, and cognac available by the glass and the bottle. An antipasti bar will feature olives, roasted peppers, and cheeses. A special menu offers items like lobster ravioli, cacio e pepe, fresh pasta with shaved truffles, and steak Florentine. The space seats twenty-seven guests. Sheer white curtains will offer a sense of privacy on the outdoor patio. Frank Sinatra, naturally, will play nonstop.

“It feels like an old school Italian place in New York,” Di Palma says.

He’s also adding a “Nutella Bar” creperie to Bottega Luisa. Come October, it will be open six days a week starting at 7 a.m. Crepe offerings include ham and cheese, lemon sugar, strawberries and sugar, nutella, and nutella with gelato. Patrons will be able to enjoy illy coffee and cappuccino, Sicilian blood orange juice, fresh croissants, and bread from Di Palma’s partnership with Holeman & Finch.

Di Palma also has plans to open a mozzarella and ravioli bar on the property. The food will be served through a takeout window. Expect burrata, fior di latte, and bufala mozzarella, as well as street food-style ravioli in four varieties: Bolognese, fungi, ricotta, and, occasionally, lobster.

As if that’s not enough to handle, Di Palma will be opening Antico Pizza and Caffe Gio at Avalon in Alpharetta in October. The restaurants will serve primarily the same fare as the original locations with a few additions. Antico will offer a 12-inch pizza to dine-in customers, in addition to its traditional size. It will also offer mezzo metro, a half-meter pizza cut in small squares and served on a wood plank.

Caffe Gio at Avalon will open at 7 a.m. and serve everything from cappuccino and pastries to soups and salads, as well as gelato, Peroni, bellinis, beer, and wine.

After his restaurants at Avalon open, Di Palma will turn his attention to Gio’s Chicken. He’s looking at opening three or four small pilot stores in Atlanta, then perhaps a location in Washington, D.C., or Miami, before franchising. He’s also in negotiations with Whole Foods Market to sell his heat-and-serve pizzas and, possibly, his salad dressing. If all goes according to plan, he’ll turn his Westside warehouse into a production facility for these items.