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To build new eatery, Westside Italian restaurant owner goes up, not out

      
As seen from the rear parking lot, major equipment was installing an outdoor stairway in mid-April to the deck being built for the new Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar on the second floor of the building at 2802 W. Colorado Ave., above Paravicini's Italian restaurant. The ownership of both eateries is the same.
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At various times since starting Paravicini's 14 years ago, Franco Pisani says he's rejected suggestions that he duplicate his successful Italian restaurant elsewhere in town.
       Besides, he already had a better idea - to build a second eatery right upstairs.
       The current business is at 2802 W. Colorado Ave. The upstairs used to be just an open area for meetings and storage. Construction work began about a year ago. A May opening is anticipated for the Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar.
       “I had the idea several years ago, and back then it seemed like an impossible reach,” Pisani recalled. “But the more I visited restaurants across the country, I said I'm going to do it.”
       Sopra will be complete unto itself, with its own kitchen and bar, plus a deck and separate inside and outside entrances. Unlike Paravicini's,
Franco Pisani, the Paravicini's owner and chef, stands on the recently framed deck for his Sopra eatery going in upstairs. Seating for 40 will be available there, with space for another 60 inside.
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the menu will not offer entrees; the focus will be on appetizers and shared plates.
       Pisani described the Sopra cuisine as “classic Italian with a modern touch. It's a trendy way to eat now.”
       But it's not as if the two restaurants will be completely disconnected. The most obvious link is the owner, who, with his chef's “hat” on, has developed or invented all the Paravicini's entrees and is doing the same for Sopra. In addition, popular Paravicini's appetizers will be found on the Sopra menu, and their wine lists will be the same.
       Another plus to the proximity is that diners coming to Paravicini's who can't find a table will now be able to go upstairs. There, Pisani explained, they'll be welcome to either eat and drink their fill or have a small order while waiting for a table to clear downstairs.
       The Paravicini's seating is 100 inside and 50 outside; Sopra will offer 60 seats inside and 40 outside.
This is a rendering of what the Sopra interior will look like. The door in the background will lead to the deck.
Courtesy of Franco Pisani

       Open daily, the new locale will inititially be open at 4 p.m., continuing into the evening. Paravicini's is open for lunch and dinner.
       The cost to create Sopra, Pisani estimated, will come to about half a million dollars. He doesn't own the building, but recently obtained a 12-year lease on the property, which he considers the next best thing.
       It helps that “we're more established now,” he said of the project timing. “I love this neighborhood and the people here know us. We're a neighborhood restaurant.”
       Originally from Connecticut, Pisani said cooking is all he's ever really been interested in. The business website tells about his first cooking mentor - his mother Mary - and later his graduation from the Baltimore Culinary College.
       He brought his experience, passion and classical training to this area in 1996, and started Paravicini's in April 2003.
       For those who may wonder about his businesses' names, Pisani explained that Paravicini “loosely translates to 'for the neighborhood,'" and Sopra means "on top of.”

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 4/16/17; Business: New)

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