Chris Schlesak and Adam Vettorel, co-owners of North & Navy, where Vettorel is also chef, met many years ago while working at Fratelli’s on Bank Street. That restaurant is long gone, but in a strange twist of fate, Cantina Gia, Schlesak and Vettorel’s newest venture, has now opened in that same location.
The road to opening has not been a straight one; Gia was set to launch in May, but COVID-19 put paid to that. “However, I love the fact that we’ve been forced to reconsider,” says Schlesak, “as we can no longer rely on a restaurant offering the traditional seating model.”
So Gia is diversifying, explains Vettorel. The ‘cantina’, which opened in early October, is offering food to go, such as a porchetta sandwich with pear slices on house-made focaccia, lasagna, polpettes, and house-cured charcuterie prepared at sister restaurant North & Navy. Also on offer is top quality salumi and prosciutto imported from Italy. There will be a range of up to 20 products regularly available for immediate take-away, as well as a wine fridge stocked with customer favourites and boutique labels.
They’ll also be working as a ghost kitchen, preparing food for other retail outlets. One such partnership is with Little Victories coffee roasters, “we are already producing breakfast sandwiches for them, and porchetta for lunch,” says Vettorel.
Their aim is to create a community gathering spot. The warm, cozy interior — which will open as soon as COVID rules allow — features an immense mural of the Tuscan countryside by local artist Philip Craig. “We’re offering quick, easy, fresh Italian food of the same quality as North & Navy, but just not as fancy,” says Schlesak.
“We’re really hoping that this will be the kind of place that our customers and friends will feel comfortable to take a seat at the bar to enjoy a quick glass of wine and some charcuterie,” adds Vettorel, “or stay longer for dinner.”
Gia, 749 Bank St.