Postino Osteria has big shoes to fill. In mid-July, the suburban Italian restaurant will open where shuttered Summer Hill institution One Penny Red traded successfully for almost a decade: in a 1901 building that was once the local post office.

“It’s an honour to move into the space,” Postino Osteria co-owner and chef Alessandro Pavoni tells Broadsheet. Pavoni has partnered with his Ormeggio at The Spit co-owner Bill Drakopoulos on the inner-west venture.

“We know [One Penny’s] Nina [Alidenes] well, we admire her, and that was part of why we wanted to open here. She proved that good dining was accepted in Summer Hill. We don’t want to do fine dining, though – we’re opening a restaurant with totally different charisma.”

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Postino takes inspiration from neighbourhood osterias all over Italy, particularly in Pavoni’s northern hometown of Brescia. “I want to do an osteria like we do in Italy, where you go for a glass of wine, you can stand at the bar and drink, have a bit of salumi, or you can sit down and have the whole menu.”

The food menu hasn’t been finalised, but Pavoni says it will consist of “simple Italian”: small plates and mains plus house-made pastas and a handful of desserts. Brescia’s osterias are famous for their plates of salumi, gnoccho fritto, and beans and sausage – and Pavoni says Postino’s menu will likely feature versions of some of these dishes. The wine list will have around 100 mostly Italian options.

Summer Hill’s post office is heritage-listed, so the potential for big renovations is limited. But the seating plan will shift from the current format (formal dining on the ground floor, more casual bar upstairs). Moody will be the new MO. Warm lighting and curtains, high tables and stools in the bar, sit-down dining upstairs.

Pavoni notes osteria-style dining – where it’s as normal to pop in for a drink and a small plate as it is to bring the whole family for a full meal – is gaining popularity in Australia.

“That’s the kind of casual dining we’ve done in Italy for centuries, with places that customers visit a few times a week. Every neighbourhood should have one or two of those types of places. It’s what Italian eating is all about.”

Postino Osteria is expected to open at 2 Moonbie Street, Summer Hill, in July 2024.