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What is Casa Luca like?

Casa Luca is inspired by the regional cuisine of Le Marche. It’s untouched, non-elevated regional cuisine. We did some specific selections of seven wines on tap. A glass is $9, half a liter is $22 to $25, and cocktails are $13.

We also have 10 red wines and 10 whites by the bottle that are each $28. We did that so the customer could choose a wine and not feel guilty about a second bottle, but also to try varietals they might not have tried before.

And if someone wants to go into the upper cellar selections, we have 10 whites and 10 reds for $50 to $110.

The cocktails are based on Italian amaros. We have custom-made cured meats and custom cheeses, and a pasta room in the restaurant.

You said Casa Luca’s food is inspired by Le Marche. Isn’t all of your food inspired by Le Marche?

At Fiola I take [traditional dishes from Le Marche] and elevate it to fine dining. We have 600 wines there and much more formal service.

The interior of Casa Luca (Photo: Greg Powers)

Casa Luca is the food of my family growing up. It’s inspired by my son, Luca, who is an active little chef, nine years old. He thinks it’s really interesting being with us in the kitchen every weekend, and that’s how the inspiration started.

I also started cooking when I was around that age. My dad was a farmer, and every weekend he took me to farms to do our grocery shopping. He cooked a big Sunday meal every weekend. That’s how my love for that good food started for me. Luca’s hanging out in the kitchen, he gets to see the product, he’s helping with some preparation, he’s even helping with service sometimes.

Why did you decide to open a more casual restaurant?

I always wanted to do something that is more casual. I guess you hear that a lot these days, but I really wanted to make the food that I grew up with. The opportunity came along and it made sense to do that.

Casa Luca’s only been open for two weeks, but how has business been?

It’s been very good. Any time you start a new business, you always have certain expectations. We’re working out the kinks, but we’ve exceeded expectations. It’s been received very well. [The customers] are doing what they’re supposed to be doing, which is sharing and having family-style meals.

Contact Bret Thorn at bret.thorn@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary