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Inside Bar Pisellino, the Gorgeously Appointed New Italian Hangout From Via Carota

Chef dream team Jody Williams and Rita Sodi open an all-day Italian bar in the West Village

For New Yorkers seeking comforting Italian cooking, the easy 2019 answer is to look to Jody Williams and Rita Sodi. The couple first independently ran their own hit West Village restaurants, but together, they reached fixture status after partnering up to open Via Carota more than four years ago.

Now, the duo is working together once again, combining their favorite experiences for a breezy, all-day bar called Bar Pisellino, at 52 Grove St. and Seventh Avenue. Considering who they are, the opening has been eagerly anticipated and long awaited — but for the two of them, putting together the restaurant has been “spontaneous,” Williams says.

“We’re naive, but we have a great sense of adventure,” she says. “We’re in it; let’s roll!”

For Pisellino, that’s meant pulling from the best of what they’ve enjoyed in Italy. It’s the tall spoon and sugar served alongside tart, iced orange juice at a cafe in Piazza San Marco in Venice. It’s the heavy-bottomed glass for hot chocolate from Bar San Calisto in Rome, or an experience shopping and dining at gourmet food store Peck in Milan.

Bar Pisellino
Aperol spritz at Bar Pisellino
Aperol spritz
Bicerin coffee and bomboloni at Bar Pisellino
Bicerin coffee and bomboloni

“You live your life, you travel, you have all these experiences and things you miss and things you want, and that motivates us to create,” Williams says. “We are out of this nostalgia, like, ‘Wow, wouldn’t you want to have that experience here with us now? Lets do it!’ So the goal, the challenge, and the joy of it is finding all the pieces.”

Just like their favorite places, they want people to drop in for espresso in the morning, a spritz in the afternoon, and after-work bites and drinks, though not necessarily a full meal. Or maybe linger for all three, though none of it will be available to go.

Tramezzini at Bar Pisellino
Espresso and bomboloni at Bar Pisellino
Espresso and bomboloni
Food in the bar case at Bar Pisellino
Food in the bar case
Prosciutto and breadsticks at Bar Pisellino
Prosciutto and breadsticks

The morning menu runs from espresso drinks like a shakerato and pastries like olive oil cake and bomboloni, blending into various tramezzini, or crustless white-bread sandwiches, (curried egg, Waldorf chicken salad, and tuna with shaved fennel), panini (chicken Milanese) and spritzes in the afternoon. At nighttime comes cicchetti, drinking snacks such as cacio e pepe potato chips.

Drinks are by John Mullen, formerly of Maison Premiere, and include a spumoni cocktail (gin, pink peppercorn, grapefruit, tonic, Campari), sgroppino (lemon sorbet, Prosecco, vodka), and a pistachio drink (gin, genepy, pistachio-green-cardamom orgeat, bitters, lime juice). There will also be bottled boulevardiers, americanos, and more. Guiding it all will be Williams and Sodi, who never thought they’d be in this position.

Sgroppino at Bar Pisellino
Iced americano at Bar Pisellino
Iced americano

“For all the work we’re doing, we’re not big planners. We never sit down and say, ‘This is the five-year plan,” Williams says. “It’s really last-minute, spontaneous, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’”

They’ve been rolling together for about a decade now, meeting at I Sodi, where Williams went on friends’ recommendations. It’s where their relationship blossomed. Williams had just opened Buvette following her stint as Morandi’s opening chef, and I Sodi was Sodi’s first restaurant ever, following a career change from fashion.

Via Carota was their first professional partnership. Since then, accolades have rolled in. There’s been a four-star Eater review, laudatory recipes in the Times, and the New Yorker calling it “New York’s most perfect restaurant.” Most recently it was that peak distinction of NYC’s best chefs from James Beard.

Jody Williams and Rita Sodi at Bar Pisellino
Jody Williams and Rita Sodi

“I still have to convince myself it happened. It just says that we are going in the right direction and people understand that,” Sodi says. “It makes you more comfortable in doing what we’re doing because people appreciate [it]. We’re a little more confident.”

That mentality is also what got them into their current situation of opening Bar Pisellino while signing a lease for another new place a few blocks away. But that’s what keeps them interested, Williams says, calling it “much more enriching and challenging” to pursue more projects.

“We have other things we want to do. As long as it’s fulfilling. That’s why that little place is there,” she says, pointing to Bar Pisellino. “It’s definitely not for everybody, but it certainly captures things we love, and we’re dedicated to executing that.”

Bar Pisellino is open Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, this weekend from 4 p.m. to midnight., and then daily from 7 a.m. to midnight starting Tuesday.

Bar Pisellino
Cacio e pepe chips at Bar Pisellino
Cacio e pepe chips
At exterior of Bar Pisellino in New York, which sits on a street corner in the shape of a narrow triangle

Bar Pisellino

52 Grove Street, Manhattan, NY 10014 Visit Website
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