Scopa a feast for tastebuds and eyes
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-
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.