Pendolino opens near Chastain Park next week for Italian-inspired cuisine, cocktails

Sharable pizzettas, small pizzas from a wood-fired oven, are on the menu at Pendolino in Sandy Springs. Courtesy of Cassie Wright

Credit: Courtesy of Cassie Wright

Credit: Courtesy of Cassie Wright

Sharable pizzettas, small pizzas from a wood-fired oven, are on the menu at Pendolino in Sandy Springs. Courtesy of Cassie Wright

Italian-inspired restaurant Pendolino is set to open next week near Chastain Park.

The restaurant takes over the former Santorini Tavern space in the Chastain Market development at 4600 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs and comes from Kevin Maxey, who previously served as Vice President of Culinary for Ford Fry’s Rocket Farms Restaurant Group, where he led the development and opening of several Atlanta restaurants including St. Cecilia, King + Duke and Superica.

The idea behind Pendolino is to “have a set menu that’s very consistent so people can count on the things they know that they love here, but also run daily and weekly specials with things that inspire us from the market or as we think of new things,” Maxey said. “We’re not the kind of restaurant where we’re reinventing the menu every week.”

The menu, which isn’t finalized, is broken down into three sections. The 8-10 antipasti dishes are designed for sharing, “things that you can cut into small pieces or take a bite of and pass it to your neighbor,” Maxey said. Offerings include barbecued octopus braised with olive oil and herbs, and crispy calamari.

Small plates, salads and sides include items like Caesar salad and beef carpaccio.

Entrees will feature four or five pasta dishes and a handful of traditional main dishes including chicken Parmesan, a New York strip steak marsala and a beef burger topped with gorgonzola cheese and balsamic-glazed onions.

A wood-burning oven in the kitchen, which serves as the visual centerpiece of the Pendolino space, will be used to prepare many menu items, including three 10-inch pizzettas.

While there are many nods to the Italian coast on Pendolino’s menu, the primary inspiration from Italian cuisine comes from the desire to “source premium ingredients and manipulate them as little as possible,” Maxey said. “We’re celebrating delicious food Italian-style, as opposed to saying, ‘Hey, come take a trip to Italy with us,’ and trying to transport people there.”

He said there are also nods to several other cuisines across the menu. A Southern-inspired potato salad dotted with pickled celery, crispy pepperoni and roasted sweet cherry peppers is served with the octopus in the antipasti section, while a ricotta meatball dish that’s served with a slow-cooked “Sunday gravy” marinara sauce references an Italian-American classic.

Pendolino is located in the Chastain Market development off Roswell Road in Chastain Park. / Courtesy of Cassie Wright

Credit: Courtesy of Cassie Wright

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Credit: Courtesy of Cassie Wright

“We want to have something for everyone,” Maxey said. “We want to be casual enough to be an everyday restaurant, and fancy enough to be a special occasion restaurant if you want it to be. We really want to be a neighborhood restaurant where people can always find something that they’re craving that night.”

The beverage program will feature a house Negroni on draft as well classic cocktails and a handful of craft drinks “that are delicious, simple and approachable and don’t have a lot of complications to them,” Maxey said.

These include the Mamma Mia, a play on an Aperol spritz made with mezcal, Aperol and grapefruit soda; the Roman Holiday made with citrus vodka, passionfruit and dry curacao; and the Ultra Vecchio, a play on an Old-Fashioned made with amaro Montenegro and salted caramel bitters.

The wine list, primarily curated by General Manager Gabriele Bessozi, is predominantly Italian and features about 50 bottles, with two sparkling, two roses, five white and six red wines offered by the glass.

Kevin Maxey is the executive chef and owner of Pendolino in Chastain Park. / Courtesy of Pendolino

Credit: Courtesy of Pendolino

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Credit: Courtesy of Pendolino

The Pendolino space designed by Kirby Caldwell reflects the late ‘70s coastal Italy with a light color palette of creams and pale blues, dark wood to offset the light colors, linen cafe curtains, leather and corduroy accents, and purple and green tile.

The interior seats 70 guests in the main dining room, 15 seats at a marble bar and 35 seats in a private dining area. An extensive patio offers seating for an additional 50 guests.

Pendolino, named for a type of olive, is the first restaurant launched under Maxey’s KRM Hospitality restaurant consulting agency.

Maxey, a Texas native who worked with Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern and Craft in New York before relocating to Atlanta to work with Ford Fry, said he’s long wanted to launch a restaurant inspired by the type of food he made at the beginning of his career.

“A lot of the cooking I’ve done throughout my life has been Italian-style with handmade pasta and risottos, and it’s in the vein of what we’re doing at Pendolino,” he said. “We just want to be a niche for the neighborhood.”

Pendolino’s opening hours are 5-10 p.m. daily. Reservations can be made here.

4600 Roswell Road, Atlanta.

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