In the final days of 2019, Bar Ciudad served its final rotisserie chicken in Georgetown and bade Seattle farewell; owner Marcus Lalario promised an Italian restaurant would one day open in that spot.
Well, uh, a lot has happened since December. But in a few weeks, Lalario makes good on the promise that narrowly predates masks and social distancing and spending our waking hours wondering WTF is even happening. On August 5, he’ll open Mezzanotte in this little space at 1210 S Bailey St.
And Lalario—also the restaurateur behind Lil Woody’s, Fat’s Chicken and Waffles, and Mezzanotte’s neighboring restaurant Ciudad—has secured an awfully promising chef to shepherd the pasta menu. Some of my happiest memories of Jake Vorono’s cooking happened over at B Side, the tiny breakfast and lunch spot on Capitol Hill. But when he wasn’t bewitching rice bowls and egg sandwiches, Vorono built a robust resume of Italian fare, cooking at places like Il Corvo and Bar del Corso.
Now he’s readying a menu that nods to Lalario’s Northern Italian roots: slender tajarin, rigatoni carbonara (or cacio e pepe), and ribbons of Tripoline in ragu. Antipasti and salads round things out, and Lalario’s particularly excited about the pollo in carpione, a chicken breast marinated in red wine, fried, and served with giardinera.
Vorono’s wife, Emily, oversees a cocktail program that bends elements like tequila and pineapple with orgeat into Italian-toned cocktails—not to mention a classic negroni on draft and some frozen libations that sound particularly alluring when it's this hot out. Like the food menu, these will be available for takeout, or in the building’s large walled-in courtyard, a major asset in these Covid-driven times.