There’s nothing better than getting your hands on someone’s family recipes. Luckily for guests of Piazza Talarico – a new Italian restaurant that just opened on Penn Avenue in Lawrenceville – that’s exactly what everyone is being served.
Sisters Katie and Beth Talarico grew up in a big Italian family where they would meet every Sunday night for dinner. These were the sort of big family meals that you can only fully understand if you’ve ever been to one.
“Everyone sits at the table, and you don’t have any space,” says Beth. “Everyone is fighting each other for bread, that sort of thing. Sometimes there would be six of us, sometimes there would be 30. My grandma would never sit down until everyone was on their second plate of food.”
For the sisters, it has always been their dream to find a way to turn these family meals into a restaurant to share their passions for food and friends.
“This has been our dream forever,” says Katie.
After years of planning, and a year and a half of transforming their space on Penn Avenue, Piazza Talarico is now open.
The space aims to emulate small, Southern Italian family-owned restaurants. These are the type of off-the-beaten-path spaces where the locals eat and relax with friends and family.
“The point is to see friends and have some wine,” says Katie. “It’s a place where people can get away from life and feel like their in Italy… or my grandparent’s house on Christmas Eve.”
The interior at Piazza Talarico has 18 seats. Their outdoor patio, which will be open for drinks, weather permitting, during the winter, has another 16 seats. And, just as counter bars where guests walk up and order an espresso or glass of wine are common in Italy, the restaurant features a walk-up wine and coffee bar that almost runs the length of the restaurant.
The family atmosphere is omnipresent in the space, between laughter from tables of friends catching up, and the walls adorned with photographs of Katie and Beth’s grandfather.
“A lot of this has been in the back of my head for a long time,” says Katie. “I’ve had a Pinterest board for six or seven years that just said, ‘For the Restaurant.'”
And, if the space is reminiscent of Italian restaurants, the food is reminiscent of a hearty meal prepared by your grandmother. Beth is taking charge in the kitchen, serving guests the special Talarico family recipes.
“I learned most of it from my grandma and my dad,” says Beth. “I tell people I am grandma-taught.”
Two very special family recipes that guests should look out for are the “Grandma’s Sauce,” pasta, and the Talarico family special of “Baked Maccheroni,” a rigatoni dish with Grandma’s sauce, pepperoni, cheese, and boiled eggs.
The wine being served will also stay in the family, as producing wine is something that Beth and Katie’s father, Joseph Talarico, has been doing for almost 35 years. Sourcing grapes from California, Italy, and South America, Katie and Beth say they “grew up” assisting their dad with his wine production.
Piazza Talarico is the official outpost for “Papa Joe’s Wine Cellar,” Joseph Talarico’s wine business. The bar has a 12 tap system, with 8 of the taps dedicated to Papa Joe’s wines. Guests can order wine by the glass or carafe to enjoy while in the restaurant, or purchase a bottle to take home.
The restaurant is open until 7:00 p.m. throughout the month of December, making the wine-on-tap system perfect for afterwork drinks. Additionally, four of the taps are dedicated to KingView Mead. The Pittsburgh-based meadery will be serving flavors like cider, Key Lime and Triple Berry.
The restaurant is easing into its first month, and is open from 12:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, to start. They will have their Grand Opening celebration in January, and be looking to extend their hours of service soon after. Follow Piazza Talarico’s Facebook page for updates on their hours of service.
Piazza Talarico (3832 Penn Avenue)