What’s in store for you at the coming Mucci’s Italian on Randolph and West Seventh? I walked through the space and got some fine intel.
Well we all know that Tim Niver (of The Strip Club and St. Dinette) has purchased the old Café Tava (nee Mildred Pierce Café back in the day) and is hard at work rehabbing the old place. It literally is a old square box of a building, with a yard (!) on the side and a double garage in the back. Niver sort of fell in love with the bones and put together a group to buy it with the idea of opening a homey Italian joint: more red sauce less crudo.
The space is small and the windows are high, there will be about 50 seats with a few banquets along the wall and tables in the mix. Chairs, like the one above, are vintage, heavy, and came with the joint, “it just feels right to pull out this heavy chair from a small shiny table in this place. It’s like old and new coming together,” said Niver. Right now the walls are simply black and white, though there’s talk of more décor, it’s going to stay simple. There is a small marble topped bar at the back, fronted by some decent red leather backed stools, from which you will only be served beer and wine. Though the wine will be Italian, the beer might include something special locally currently in the works.
The bar sits in front of the TINY TINY kitchen. I think it can only be a two man show back there, with chef Chris Uhrich and his crew. As in, deck oven for pizzas shoved in the corner, a fryer, a flattop which can hold about 12 small pans for sauces and orders, and a 6 basket pasta cooker. Niver recalled his Pronto Ristorante days and the pastificio, the small space where they made fresh pastas. And they do have an extruder, so they’ll have fresh pastas on the menu. They also found an old pastry sheeter machine in the basement, so who knows what could come of that.
Also, those pizzas? They’ll be fried. Niver explains that they’ll be frying the pizza skins first, before topping them and baking them in the deck oven. It’s known as a montanara pizza and when done well, it has a nice chewiness and that extra level of puff that only fried things get, along with richness from the extra bit of oil. Because hello, fried dough. For the rest of the menu you can expect lasagna, red sauce, more things fritto and more mamma-style cooking as seen through the eyes of kitchen pros.
And then, there’s donuts. If you love donut porn you should be following Uhrich on social, 'cause boy is kicking it. There’s a church just down the street and Niver is betting on them wanting donuts for weekend mornings, along with the rest of us. It will be a rotating selection available, “but who knows how it will all go, do we make 100 or 1,000? We’ll see when we see!”
But if you really want a sneak peek, you can have one of your own at the Mucci’s Pop-Up being thrown at The Strip Club next Monday, January 25. Tickets are $80 for a multi course preview of what they’ll be serving down on Randolph … which I’m going to bet will be open before Valentine’s Day.