At first glance, the two-week-old Bar 314 doesn't seem all that different from the last two restaurants that came and went on this corner of Amsterdam Avenue and 122nd Street.
There's an airy front space where customers can order from an Italian menu, a relaxed bar in the middle, and an eye-catching igloo-shaped brick oven in the back.
But that's where most of the similarities end. For one, co-owner and chef Andrew LoPresto–he also runs Babbalucci on Lenox Avenue–and partner Bruno Molfetta decided on a concise and simple food menu that doesn't stray far from pizza (314 is a reference to the value of pi), small plates like roasted artichokes, and Italian sandwiches only available during lunch (more about those later).
Possibly for that reason, much attention has been paid to the dough made in-house. Using the restaurant's proprietary "mother yeast," it is allowed to rise for two days. Molfetta says the result is a thin and crispy pizza crust.
This same dough is also used to make Bar 314's hamburger buns as well as pucce, special sandwiches from Puglia, Italy, that involve baking a ball of pizza dough, slicing it in half and filling it with ingredients like cheese and cured meat, then baking it again. (On a recent visit the Arturo sandwich, stuffed with coppa, roasted peppers, olives, onions, mozzarella, arugula and mayo was crispy, soft, warm, and juicy all at the same time.)
The final big change here is the fact that Molfetta, who managed the bar at Babbalucci, will be crafting cocktails with a special focus on Italian spirits like Aperol and Campari. Although this last part isn't up and running just yet–they're hoping to get their liquor license in the next two or three weeks–when it finally is, guests can expect as many as eight types of Negronis and just as many Spritzes.
Craft pizza and Italian cocktails: a formula easy to love and practically designed to keep you coming back for more.
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