Wednesday, July 25, 2012

You'll eat, you'll dance, you'll laugh @ Mangia!

Ever heard of a pop-up restaurant? I hadn't until recently, but I was instantly intrigued after hearing friends rave about a new place called Mangia. In Italian, Mangia means "eat". So I knew this was going to be good.
For those of you who are not familar, I'll share what I've learned: A pop-up restaurant is a chef and staff who do not have their own restaurant home, so they just pop up or inhabit other spaces to host dinners. Typically they have a set menu and rely on social media (facebook/twitter) and word of mouth for advertising.

Mangia, with chef Nick Pellegrino has been popping up in the Cool Cafe space on Friday and Saturday nights and serving a five course Italian feast for several months now.Typically there has been a 2-3 month wait for reservations, but they recently added some new tables and we were able to get in after only 1 month. Once I secured our table, I called and invited my best friends to join me on this foodie adventure.

We arrived at the Cool Cafe location a few minutes before 8. By day, this cafe serves southern/soul food, but when Chef Nick opens the doors on Friday and Saturday nights - the space is transformed into Mangia! Complete with white table cloths, candles, Italian music and just to top it off - the Godfather playing on the big screens in the corners of the room.

I had read that the goal was to make you feel like you were a dinner guest in a big Italian family, and I think they more than achieve that. Our waiter was very attentive and Nick visited our table many times to make sure we were happy and well fed. The food is served family style and is delicious and plentiful. I think each person at our table had a different favorite dish. Personally, my favorites were the caprese salad with homemade mozzarella, rosemary chicken and the eggplant caponata, but I tasted each dish and there was not one I did not enjoy. As the evening winds down and everyone begins to say their goodbyes, you are handed a paper bag of hot zeppole for the ride home. Now, that's an offer you can't refuse!

A big thank you to Chef Nick and team, for providing us with the backdrop to create wonderful memories with our friends, while having a fabulous dining experience

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