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I worry the classic Manhattan is going the way of the martini: another opportunity for barkeeps to futz around with annoying techniques and show-offish ingredients. Plus: In previous decades, chefs had to be Japanese if they wanted customers to take their sushi seriously. They had to be born in Spain to attempt paella. This attitude seems quaint in an era when scholarly approach trumps birthright.
BoccaLupo has only been open since 2013, but chef Bruce Logue started developing the recipe for his signature black spaghetti over a decade ago. His inspiration stemmed from his time at Babbo, where Mario Batali served a black spaghetti topped with chorizo, shrimp, and jalapeno pesto.
An Italian and Latin-influenced neighborhood bistro called Il Gusto Bistro will open in the Old Fourth Ward one year from now. Currently home to the Lantern House (589 Ralph McGill Boulevard), the property will be renovated, and the owner, George DeMeglio, will move in next door.
We reviewed 2012 a couple weeks back. What will 2013 bring? Here are the thirteen restaurants we're most anticipating:
Last week I caught up with Bruce Logue, who recently left his executive chef position at La Pietra Cucina, to chat about plans for his highly anticipated new restaurant, BoccaLuppo. Logue said that the new resto will feature a casual Italian-American menu that include some of the pasta dishes he made famous at the four-star La Pietra but at a lower price point. He is still locking down his location but it will be smaller and more centrally located with ample parking. And for all of his fans, BoccaLuppo should be up and running before the end of the year,if not sooner.Q: What will be the main differences between La Pietra and BoccaLupo in terms of menu and price point?BL: The only similarity to La Pietra will be the flavors and ingredients found in some of the food. Things like my Calabrese sausage and my Bolognese ragu will surely be at BoccaLupo. BoccaLupo will focus more on some of the Italian-American favorites that people already know and what makes those dishes great. My goal is to add to the vernacular of what is considered Italian-American cooking by using American made artisan products that would normally be imported from "the old country." Things like cured hams and salumi, Parmesan style cheese, and San Marzano tomatoes are now being produced at a very high level in the U.S. There are dairies in Georgia making mozzarella and burrata and other Italian cheeses as well as local farmers growing vibrant produce year round. Our country produces excellent wine and olive oil and our semolina is of the best in the world for making extruded pasta. These are some of the building blocks that we will use to achieve Italian-American flavor. I want people to connect deeply with the food whether it is on an intellectual level or just plain old "this tastes amazing" level. Another big difference will be the price point. We will be very creative in keeping our price point low. We want people to feel like they can drop in any time and enjoy a satisfying meal.
Last year, Richard Blais got back in the kitchen with the Spence, Fifth Group opened a sustainable seafood spot (Lure), and the Optimist was named “Restaurant of the Year” by Esquire Magazine. Giovanni Di Palma drafted plans for a miniature Little Italy near Georgia Tech (see Bar Antico below), Shaun Doty got into the fast-casual chicken market with the opening of Bantam and Biddy, and numerous local chefs appeared on Chopped.
For the first nine months of its existence, La Pietra Cucina was a literal boîte—a box of a restaurant—squashed into a back room of the deserted space in the Pershing Point office building where MidCity Cuisine played out its few coquettish years. The setup, in one of MidCity’s old dining rooms, was meant to be a short-term starting point for La Pietra Cucina while the entire space underwent renovation. At first, the taped-up signs that announced the Italian newcomer were vague, leading customers to walk through the graveyard of MidCity’s dining room, past once-jolly striped banquettes and an abandoned bar, toward a beckoning light at the far end of the expanse. It felt both disorienting and juicily clandestine.