First Look: BoccaLupo, Inman Park

At Atlanta’s La Pietra Cucina, chef Bruce Logue focused on what he calls the “handmade aspects” of Italian cuisine, building a reputation for his deft ways with pasta. At Logue’s new Italian-American neighborhood restaurant, BoccaLupo, several of his La Pietra noodle favorites star on the menu, but there’s antipasti, and few entrees and desserts, too.

The look: Located in the former Sauced space in Inman Park, the freestanding building overlooks a residential section of Edgewood Avenue, with a deck that leads to the entrance. Inside, the muted design features museum white walls and rustic wood accents. A roomy L-shaped bar anchors the snug dining room, and there’s more seating on a comparatively spacious covered patio in back.

The scene: One recent weeknight, that new restaurant buzz was in the air, as neighbors stopping in for a look-see quickly created a chatty din. Couples and small parties settled in for dinner at the bar. In the dining room, two Atlanta chefs, Lance Gummere of Bantam & Biddy and Ford Fry of Rocket Farm Restaurants, were seated at cafe tables a short distance from each other.

The menu: Logue’s offerings change daily, but a recent menu included four fresh and four extruded pastas ($13-$19). His signature black spaghetti was tossed with housemade sausage, red shrimp and scallions. Bucatini with sizzling eggplant and ramps was flavored with bottarga, an Italian delicacy made from dried and pressed fish roe. Under antipasti, there was octopus and mortadella spiedino ($12) and Iowa prosciutto with housemade ricotta and pineapple mostarda ($12).

The drinks: Questa Olsen, who ran the bar at La Pietra, is building the beverage program around Logue’s cooking. Look for lots of Italian reds, plus American and European wines by the glass in the $7-$12 range, with bottles topping out around $60. Cocktails include The Tourist ($11), with Knickerbocker gin, Antica Formula, Aperol, prosecco and orange bitters, served in a fluted glass.

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The extras: Gelato and cookies ($6) and olive oil pound cake with Meyer lemon curd and strawberries ($6) were on the recent dessert menu. Look for lunch and late night hours and menus, soon.

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