Italian restaurant La Piazza Antica is opening on Goodramgate this weekend.
It opens in what was previously La Piazza – a family-owned restaurant run by brothers Mario and Emilio Comito for 25 years.
The new La Piazza Antica is run by chefs Arjan Boci and Decio Franca and the Grade-listed building has gone under extensive refurbishment. It hopes to open to the public this Saturday, 29 April.
Arjan has 20 years experience cooking Italian cuisine, and Decio is the owner of another successful Italian restaurant in town, La Vecchia Scuola on Low Petergate.
They took over the building around two years ago, after the original owners’ retirement.
YorkMix spoke to general manager Dennis Zeka to find out more.
“Two years ago they approached me and said we need a good manager, come and have a look – I walked in and I was like this is a disaster. It was a mess.
“Comparing with the state when I walked in to the way it is now, I’m very pleased.”
Dennis has worked in several bars and restaurants in York, including Revolution, D’vine and 31 Castlegate.
The renovation process of the building has been “very tough. With the building being Grade-I listed we had to face a lot of challenges.”
Number 45 Goodramgate is an ancient building, forming part of two Tudor townhouses built in around 1490. It even comes with its own ghost – of Marmaduke Buckle, who died here in 1715.
Some of the changes to the building include a whole new electric and heating system, with fitted storage heaters.
The building is owned by York Conservation Trust who have been “very helpful, and advising us on how to do things.”
The restaurant will serve up classic Italian cuisine, such as traditional pizzas, pastas and lasagnes, as well as steaks and lamb – all cooked Italian style.
“The main focus is using fresh dough, fresh ingredients and using our local suppliers,” said Dennis.
Alongside the main menu, is the set menu which offers two courses for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95. Dishes on the set menu include calamari, arancine, chicken saltimbocca, pork medallions, gnocchi, tiramisu, and panna cotta.
The restaurant also has an extensive drinks menu, with wine, beer, soft drinks and cocktails.
They have a list of signature cocktails inspired by five of the ‘most beautiful Piazzas in Italy’ – such as the San Marco (£9.45) which is a refreshing cocktail from Venice with flavours of rhubarb, ginger and lime, and the Del Miracoli (£9.95) from Pisa with Amaretto, raspberry and apple.
The La Piazza establishment had a reputation of being well-loved by many, so Dennis is feeling “massive pressure” to deliver.
“It’s like carrying over a legacy,” he said. “We don’t want previous customers of this business to say ‘they lost their touch, that disappointed me’.
“I personally used to dine here before, so I want the standards to be equally as good or at least a little bit better – the whole atmosphere, the service, the quality of food.
“Our aim is to deliver an amazing dining experience.”
The restaurant has created 12 front of house jobs, and five kitchen jobs.
La Piazza Antica will be open seven days a week, from 12pm to 10pm every day. To find out more or to make a booking, visit the restaurant’s website here.