La Piazza was packed Sunday night as the two year old restaurant held a free open house to celebrate its expansion. The restaurant, located at 410 Circle Avenue opened in May 2003 and has been a big success. The combination of elegant, sophisticated food and an authentic but casual atmosphere has made it almost impossible to get in without a reservation.
“The biggest complaint has been that if you don’t have reservations you can’t get in,” said chef Gaetano Di Benedetto.
Partners Robert Marani and Di Benedetto decided they needed to create more space to serve those clamoring for the fusion of regional Italian dishes that renowned chef Di Benedetto creates. They have added a new dining area that will be reserved for walk in customers without reservations, a new waiting area, a private event room with a capacity of about 55 people, and a new walk in wine cellar which will feature around 120 different wines.
The main dining room will now seat around 70 diners, up from 42. The private event room will be available for birthday parties, engagement parties, wedding rehearsal dinners, family gatherings, bridal and baby showers and corporate events.
Tables will also be available for those who want to stop in just for cocktails, appetizers or desert.
This expansion, the owners said, is only the beginning. The partners hope to open a jazz club in the basement of the building Christmas, Di Benedetto said.
A taste of what is to come was offered Sunday night as the restaurant was bathed in sounds of bossanova and jazz performed by Two for Brazil featuring Paulinho and Greg Fishman.
La Piazza is open 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 4:30 to 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It is closed on Sundays.