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Saturday Focaccia and More NYC Italian Food News

focaccia close-up

Every week, Appetito will catch you up on all the New York City Italian food news you need to know. Eventually, we’ll aim to look past the Hudson River, but for now, we’ll focus on the biggest city in the States with the most Italian food action.

“Saturday Bread”

Today, we start in Brooklyn, where the restaurant As You Are, inside the Ace Hotel Brooklyn, has introduced a new program called “Saturday Bread,” offering focaccia and other treats for pickup from their Downtown Brooklyn location. 

Daniel Álvarez, executive pastry chef for Ace Hotel and author of the book Sweet Devotion: A Contemporary Approach To Artisanal Viennoiserie, bakes a fluffy focaccia that’s perfect for sandwiches or simply sliced up and eaten as a snack. The current menu features a classic version ($10), a cheddar focaccia ($14), and another option topped with New York’s favorite spring foraged allium, ramps ($14). 

Other baked goods available for order include a variety of croissants and a 3-pack of jumbo sourdough english muffins that this author found irresistible. 

New Yorkers (and anyone willing to make the trip to downtown Brooklyn) can order via the As You Are website.


PastaRAMEN, which bills itself as “the first-ever Italian ramen shop,” and “a perfect marriage of Japanese and Italian culture and cuisine,” is a New Jersey-based restaurant that is hosting an unusual pop-up in Manhattan. Chef Robbie Felice is operating a limited-run pastaRAMEN omakase inside a SoHo hair salon through Memorial Day. According to the New York Post, the experience is a 10-course chef’s selection for 12 diners at a time for $295 per person. It’s apparently a tough-to-get reservation to try Felice’s Italo-Japanese mash-ups such as truffle porcini ramen, but you can try via the website or by sliding into pastaRamen’s DMs on Instagram.

Zillions Pizza

One of New York City’s most respected pizzaiolas, chef Bobby Hellen, has quietly returned to the Manhattan pizza scene with the new Hells Kitchen/Times Square-area slice joint Zillions. Hellen, who ran the popular East Village pizza restaurant GG’s until late 2017, has teamed with restaurateur Adam Schop and filmmaker Stéphane Bibeau on the new venture, which offers round and square pies, slices, and cheesy garlic bread. Zillions announced last week on Instagram that it is now using Numu’s plant-based mozzarella to offer vegan pies and slices as well. Hellen tells Appetito that the team has also soft-opened a burger joint a few blocks away. 

Mareluna Flatiron

Cacio e tre pepe from Mareluna.

SoHo Italian standout Mareluna has just opened a second Manhattan location, at 46 W. 22nd St. Italian expat and veteran restaurateur Marco Britti and partner Andreea Milgram, along with executive chef Nick Anson, have created an upscale Italian menu for their second location. Adding to Mareluna favorites from the SoHo menu, such as cacio e tre pepe, are new dishes including a fried artichoke salad; Lobster Termidoro with rigatoni; and Italian hot chicken, made with Calabrian hot oil. 

“Working closely with Marco, and learning family recipes from his mother, gave me a deeper appreciation for regional Italian cuisine,” Anson says in a release, “With the menus at Mareluna, I’ve been able to perfect classics, and implement creative techniques and ingredients from my background. I hope that playful reverence makes for a fun dining experience for our forthcoming diners in Flatiron, as it has in SoHo.”

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