Coming Soon... A Good Bowl of Pasta at 1:30 a.m.
Currently, if you want to grab a bite in Elliottborough/Cannonborough, you've got some awesomely eclectic, relatively affordable options. There's D'Allesandro's, Five Loaves, Dave's Seafood, and Hominy Grill, to name a few. In about a month (if all goes according to schedule), another eating option will be added to this delicious list — Ken Vedrinski's Trattoria Lucca. We recently got a hard hat tour of the new restaurant. Unlike other recent additions to the 'hood, which have left some residents scratching their heads (i.e. the new Midtown subdivision), it seems Lucca will both fit in and enhance the area. Vedrinski, co-owner and chef of Sienna on Daniel Island, hopes to create a place where affordable, authentic Italian cuisine can be enjoyed late into the evening.
"Food and beverage workers especially are dying for a place to grab good food late at night, and Lucca will be a place they can get it," he says. Envisioning Lucca as the Charleston manifestation of Manhattan's famous late night eatery, Blue Ribbon Brasserie, Vedrinski hopes to share his dream of "a good bowl of pasta at 1:30 am."
Vedrinski also seeks to create a Charleston version of the off-the-beaten path Italian eateries he is so enamored with. Boasting a very traditional interior (no modern metal tables) and a casual atmosphere in which all kinds of dress are appropriate, Vedrinski sees Lucca as a spot for locals and only really in-the-know tourists.
Family Supper Sundays also comprise a major part of Vedrinski's plan. While already creating a community-focused atmosphere with its cozy dining area (there are only 52 seats total) and 12-seat communal dining table, Family Supper Sundays will intensify Lucca's community focus. There will be two seatings for these pre-set menu suppers during which all extra helpings are on the house.
Vedrinski also sees Lucca as place in which he can celebrate the olive oil of Lucca, Italy (a city in Western Tuscany) — the olive oil he consider the best in the world. —Meaghan Strickland
Luna Rossa says "Arrivederci"
A longtime fixture in Old Mt. Pleasant, the Luna Rossa Pizzeria (713 Coleman Blvd.) closed for business on Wed. May 28. Proprietors Tony and Anna Gentile opened the first Luna Rossa ("blushing moon" in Italian) in the Market downtown in 1978 and eventually landed in Mt. Pleasant in the early '80s.
As a low-key neighborhood pizza parlor, they maintained a loyal following through the years, serving thin, chewy slices and a wide variety of Greek specialties. Their zesty, freshly-sliced gyro sandwich on pita (with a paprika-heavy yogurt dressing) was the most popular house specialty.
"After 30 years here at Luna Rossa, Tony and Anna are retiring," read a note taped to the front glass door earlier this month. "We sincerely thank you for all the years of allowing us to feed you and swap stories. Come again before the end of the month and wish us well. We will miss you."
A new group of local restaurateurs plan to extensively refurbish the yellow-painted building as Abe's Oyster Bar & Saloon, adding a sizeable deck and patio and a full bar area inside. They hope to open by late summer. —T. Ballard Lesemann