Now serving lunch and dinner, with a full bar, grocery and meals to-go, Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante in the recently refurbished Buckhead Exchange shopping center is billed as “a one stop shop for everything traditional Italian.”
The new location from chef and sommelier Mike Patrick, who originally founded the company to create handmade fresh pastas and sauces from classic Italian recipes, has the atmosphere of a mini Eataly — the sprawling Italian marketplaces in Chicago and New York City.
At Storico Fresco, diners are surrounded by cases with prepared foods, cheese and cured meats, and shelves stacked with Italian imports. Shoppers can take in the sights and aromas of the restaurant and its open kitchen.
After launching with lunch service only, Patrick debuted the dinner menu late last week. He said the menu is still a work in progress, and much like the concept, it will evolve over time.
“If we go back to the original business, it was sort of a hobbyist’s approach.” Patrick said. “I started in the basement, just making a few pounds of pasta for friends here and there. It evolved when I started taking it to farmers markets, I got into a shared kitchen, then opened the pasta production facility.
“At that point in time, we didn’t think about anything except for pasta. But we started doing a few pop-ups to generate some buzz for the products. And they went so well, we decided we probably needed to open a restaurant. That’s really how it came to be.”
Patrick also spent time in Italy, studying porchetta and pasta-making, among other things, learning the history and food-ways firsthand.
“I did a lot of study on pasta, almost like a sommelier would for wine,” Patrick said. “That’s where I really started figuring out how the different types of pasta would be served and the traditions. So I knew pasta, but then I figured out everything else.
“With that, you start to see how to construct a meal from antipasti to primi to secondi. And that’s where I started putting all these pieces together for the starters and proteins and desserts that are on the menu right now.”
Like most of Patrick’s pastas, the entrees on the menu are traditional regional Italian dishes that are likely to be unfamiliar to many Americans.
“Some of it is almost aggressive in its simplicity,” Patrick said. “So if you take a simple veal breast and you stuff it with a pig skin sausage and mix in some greens, people are not really used to seeing that.
“Same thing if you take a quail and stuff it with ‘nduja spicy sausage. You see that in the south of Italy, but you won’t see it in a lot of other places. That’s the thing we’re trying to present — super classic regional dishes from Italy.”
As far as the overall Storico Fresco concept, Patrick said he hopes that it will be an immersive but comfortable experience.
“I really wanted to have a place where you can just come in and have some counter culture like in Italy,” Patrick said. “You can sit at the bar and have a coffee or a glass of wine, grab a panini or grab some groceries. It’s the feel we wanted, with enough room for people to hang out. And that’s sort of the culmination of everything we have and do.”
3167 Peachtree Road NE, Suite S, Atlanta. 404-500-2181, storicofresco.com.
Here are some more images from a First Look at Storico Fresco Alimentari e Ristorante.