Legendary Italian restaurant Coco Pazzo of the ’90s and early aughts is fully back in action — this time in Soho and with a very 2018 fast-casual portion.
Storied restaurateur Pino Luongo, who used to run an empire of Italian restaurants in New York, has joined forces with partner Alessandro Bandini to open the new location at 160 Prince St., at the corner of Thompson Street. Like the Upper East Side original, this 60-seat version hones in on fare from Tuscany and aims to be the same kind of “homey trattoria” with old-school service.
But during the day, Soho’s Coco Pazzo embraces the more current trend of fast-casual dining, with a take-out menu and quick-service menu filled with sandwiches, soups, and salad. Choices at Coco Pazzo Kitchen include a beet and feta salad; a chicken and ricotta meatball sandwich; and mortadella sandwich with pecorino cheese, yellow peppers, and vincotto, a sweet spread made from grapes. Prices range from $8 to $15.
In the evening, the dining room flips into Coco Pazzo Trattoria, a full-service restaurant more on par with the one Luongo closed a decade ago. The menu’s split by salad, antipasti, pasta, and entrees. Spaghetti with a half a lobster, a roasted whole fish, and grilled sardines stuffed with pistachios are among the options. See the full menus below.
The original Coco Pazzo, open from 1990 to 2008, was one of the Italian restaurants that inspired a slew of other Italian trattorias across New York City. Luongo used to own a slew of restaurants, but over the years, time and bankruptcy issues left him with just one, leaving the once-prolific and once-hot-headed restaurateur largely quiet. The new opening marks a bit of a return for Luongo.
Coco Pazzo’s revival is now open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and for dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.