Renovations are underway at 50 Grattan Street in Carlton and people are starting to wonder what’s going on behind those Weekend Australian-covered windows.
It’s Pietro Barbagallo who’s moving in. Barbagallo told Broadsheet he plans to open his new restaurant, Mr Pietro, by early June.
The chef and restaurateur developed a reputation for his Sicilian-style take on Napolitano classics first at the popular I Carusi in Brunswick East and I Carusi II in St Kilda, and most recently at his Italian restaurant in Carlton South, Kaprica.
The site of Mr Pietro is a well-known building at the top end of Grattan Street, which was for many years home to the restaurant Il Vicolo until its closure late last year. Barbagallo – who can be found on site most days overseeing construction – is eager to breath new life into the red-brick terrace; he has plans to restore many of the its original features.
Mr Pietro will seat around 100 people between two main dining rooms – including one beneath a stained-glass roof in a converted laneway – and an outdoor courtyard, as well as a more casual upstairs dining room. It will be fitted out with plenty of marble and pine paneling.
Expect much of the same pared-back rustic charm as Kaprica (which keeps things simple with hand-drawn photocopied menus and latte tumbler wine glasses), and similar student-friendly prices.
Likewise, Barbagallo plans to stick to what he’s good at: soulful Southern Italian flavours inspired by his Sicilian roots. He has also signaled a slight departure from his strictly Italian repertoire, with dishes from all over the Mediterranean. But don’t worry, pizza will still make the cut.
Mr Pietro is due to open in June.