Scopa a feast for taste­buds and eyes

Calgary Herald New Condos - - Weekend Life -

Lou’s and 4th Spot.)

Scopa has taken over the space from Boc­cavino, Lina Cas­tle’s Ital­ian lounge and grill and is at­tached to Cas­tle’s al­ways-busy deli. It seats 85 in­side with room for more on a Cen­tre Street-side pa­tio that will open soon.

Cre­ative un­der­took ren­o­va­tions of Boc­cavino un­der the guid­ance of op­er­a­tions man­ager John Ro­barts. (He also su­per­vised the open­ings of Cibo and Posto.) They left the high, open ceil­ings, but took out the booths, re­plac­ing them with wrap­around ban­quettes. They kept the bar, but cre­ated a sep­a­ra­tion be­tween it and the rest of the room. They also kept the open win­dow into the kitchen, but in­creased the size of the counter in front of it and added seat­ing look­ing into the work area. (Those will be pop­u­lar seats.)

One fea­ture of Boc­cavino that was lost was a large, fish­scale, metal wall cov­er­ing that had orig­i­nally adorned the car­port at the old West­gate Ho­tel. Its day was done. In its place, Cre­ative cov­ered the lower part of the walls (and the floors) with wood planks and strung co­pi­ous in­dus­trial lamps from the high ceil­ing. The menu ranges from pizza and spaghetti car­bonara to a pan­zanella salad and a va­ri­ety of an­tipasti dishes. A new chrome-nickel flat-top grill al­lows chef Shel­don Guin­don to cre­ate grilled “plan­cha” dishes of hal­ibut and veal and a new ro­tis­serie oven pro­vides fresh­cooked porchetta and chicken. The menu, fea­tur­ing lower prices than Cre­ative’s Belt­line restaurants, and the ca­sual look are meant to be com­fort­able and at­trac­tive enough for con­struc­tion work­ers to stop in af­ter work and for young fam­i­lies to head out to in the evening.

Cre­ative also kept as many of Boc­cavino’s staff as pos­si­ble, of­fer­ing them po­si­tions in their other restaurants dur­ing the ren­o­va­tion process. So some fa­mil­iar faces will greet Boc­cavino’s reg­u­lars as it shifts to Scopa, a wel­come ad­di­tion to din­ing for the north side of the city.

In the south, a sim­i­lar re-do has been done on an­other restau­rant with The Park open­ing at 163 Quarry Park Blvd. S.E. (403-7197200) in the for­mer Ba­ton Rouge.

The space is huge, seat­ing up to 300 in­clud­ing the pa­tio, but own­ers Ja­son and Tony Balakas have al­ready filled it for Mother’s Day, Wed­nes­day night half-price wine night and even for many lunches.

Sit­u­ated in the mid­dle of the Quarry Park cor­po­rate cam­pus, The Park has the op­por­tu­nity to draw from the thou­sands of young pro­fes­sion­als work­ing in the area plus all the res­i­dents of the neigh­bour­hood around it.

With that in mind, the own­ers have de­signed what they call a “pre­mium ca­sual” menu of piz­zas, sand­wiches, burg­ers, pas­tas, sal­ads and dishes such as ba­con­wrapped lamb meat loaf and laven­der-scented chicken pot pie. (They’ve even in­cluded a kid’s menu where full meals are un­der $10.)

To help achieve the change, car­pets and some booths were re­moved and a park-in­flu­enced decor has been added. A flo­ral fab­ric pat­tern adorns the up­hol­stery, small dec­o­ra­tive trees dot the room and a huge tree oc­cu­pies a cen­tral lo­ca­tion. It’s a brighter, warmer, more open con­cept than ex­isted be­fore. Lit­tle has changed in the kitchen, built to a high stan­dard by Ba­ton Rouge. It’s spa­cious and filled with a huge bat­tery of equip­ment. The broth­ers also run the Bull and Finch pub in Dou­glas Glen and live nearby. So as Quarry Park grows, The Park is ready to meet the needs of their com­mu­nity.

RESTAU­RANT GUIDE TO

AND BE­YOND IS AVAIL-

Stu­art Gradon/Cal­gary Herald

From left, chef Shel­don Guin­don, op­er­a­tions man­ager John Ro­barts and Tim Or­mond, at the re­cently opened Scopa neigh­bour­hood Ital­ian restau­rant on Cal­gary’s Cen­tre Street.

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