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The Ex-Box Kite Chefs Will Start Cooking Pizza at Demian Repucci's Bruno in April

Expect a beta opening with a growing menu as the team settles in.

Devra Ferst

Bruno, the pizzeria/tasting menu restaurant from the duo who used to run a tasting counter out of Box Kite coffee shop, is still in major construction mode in the East Village. But during a tour today, owner Demian Repucci says he plans to open in three weeks, four at the most. Foundation for the long bar, which will seat 20 looking into an open kitchen, is in place, the Mugnaini oven (the same company that built Marta's pizza ovens) is on a truck from California right now, and the restaurant's flour mill, which was purchased with Kickstarter funds, is hanging out in the basement.

When Bruno does open, it will be in beta form. Repucci says there will probably four pizzas and four beers to start, with the menu and hours of operation growing as the team settles in. Chefs Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino are still working on what that menu will look like with test dinners, but pastas made with house-milled grains like a squab agnolotti are definite, as is an Italian take on kimchi made with white cabbage, anchovies, and Italian spices. Repucci, who plans to source lots of his ingredients from the Union Square farmers market, promises that the seasons will impact everything down to the restaurant's margherita pie. During the summer, it will be made with heirloom tomatoes, and in the winter, with canned and fermented tomato sauce, and house-made mozzarella. For dessert, Repucci says he and the chefs want to keep things fun with popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and lots of ice milks and herbaceous desserts.

Once the staff settles in, Slojkowski and Gulino will return to their tasting menu work from Box Kite, tweaked to fit Repucci's super local Italian focus. That menu will be available for four to twelve diners a night, at a counter in front of the chef's stations — the only seats Repucci plans to take reservations for.

With an entirely open kitchen, Repucci says the idea is "to be out front with reimagining operations and erasing the disconnect between front and back of the house." He hopes to involve his cooks in service and his servers in part of the cooking or prep. He's also considering eliminating tips and adopting Amanda Cohen's new service charge policy, but he says he may need to ease into that.

Stay tuned for updates and an opening date.

Prep work will happen in the basement, which also houses a special room just to store the pizza oven wood.

Bruno Pizza plywood

Plywood is still up:

Bruno Pizza plywood

Bruno Pizza

204 East 13th Street, New York, NY