The owners behind Trapizzino — the Lower East Side restaurant that introduced New Yorkers to the popular Roman pizza pocket street food that goes by the same name — are trying to reinvent the fast-casual spot into a wine bar.
Co-owner Nick Hatsatouris has amped up the restaurant’s wine selection and redecorated the space with darker mood lighting and prominent displays of wine bottles throughout, all in hopes of pivoting from an eat-it-on-the-go kind of place to one where diners linger a bit longer. The spacious corner restaurant at Orchard and Rivington Streets is larger than a typical takeout spot — and its owners see an expanded wine list as a way to fill more seats.
Trapizzino’s menu now has 40 Italian wines, about four times what the restaurant used to have. An espresso machine serves coffee, and other new additions include small appetizers like mixed olives and fried baby artichokes. See the full menu below.
Table service was also added, yet it’s still a casual affair. While takeout will still be an option, Hatsatouris hopes people will take a seat, order a glass of wine or two, and linger.
“The product goes so well with a glass of wine or a drink,” he says. “I wanted to create an environment that enhanced that experience.”
The originally fast-casual restaurant opened in 2017 with a handful of drinks and trapizzinos on the menu, the focus being the pizza-pocket sandwiches popular in Rome that’s stuffed with classic Roman dishes like rosemary chicken — which actually take hours to make. Eater senior critic Robert Sietsema considered the veal tongue trapizzino one of the best dishes he ate last year, writing that “there’s no better light lunch in town.”
Cognizant of the Lower East Side’s strong bar culture, Hatsatouris aims to draw in that clientele with this change. Regardless, it’s a smart financial choice for the restaurant considering alcohol traditionally pulls in more revenue than food. Although wine bars like Wildair and the Ten Bells are nearby, Trapizzino remains relatively cheap: Trapizzinos go for $7.50 and wines start at $10 a glass.
Aesthetically, the space is now darker, and a long, black marble counter lined with stools has replaced a white one. Outside, the words “caffè e vino” (Italian for coffee and wine) were painted above the scaffolding.
Trapizzino is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.