March 31, 2011
The volcano is starting to smoke: Vesuvio Bistro Italiano, Rich Pepe's latest adventure, is really starting to heat up with activity.
That has the Carmel icon—he of Peppoli and Little Napoli fame—bubbling like hot lava. I've seen him trade punches with a pro boxer a fraction of his age and earn the keys to Hoboken, N.J., from the mayor, but I’ve never seen him quite this excited.
He toured me through the former Piatti last week. (He owns the building.)
Maybe he was stoked because the place, as he said, “is beginning to look like a restaurant and not a construction site.”
Maybe it’s because of the new firepits and a rooftop stage he’s scheming (the modest stage for live music will go in this corner)....
....the sexy surfaces, like the textured copper bar...
...the backlit bar and loungier bar-entry way...
...and Pompei-style murals.
Or perhaps it's the fact that a mid May open date looks realistic (though he insists he's in no rush).
But I think it’s the fact that his two prodigal sons, Christian and Gian Antonio, will help steer the ship.
Between Pepe's high-powered pals and relentless and charming PR force of nature Katana Alexander, who's running the hype, you can expect it to be a scene when it opens.