Stella Spanu grew up surrounded by meals. Splitting her time between New York Metropolis and Rome, she fell in love with Italian delicacies at a younger age (it additionally helped that her father was a chef and restaurateur from Sardinia!).
She moved to Colorado to attend the College of Colorado Boulder and, finally, determined to place down roots right here.
Now, she’s honoring her heritage and embracing her love of all issues meals and hospitality with Stella’s Cucina, a brand new Boulder restaurant and lounge that opened this month at 1123 Walnut St., the previous house of Walnut Brewery.
“Meals has at all times been a significant a part of my life,” Spanu says.
The restaurant’s head chef is Filippo Piccini, who was born and raised in a small, Tuscan seaside village known as Saturnia.
We sat down with Spanu to be taught extra concerning the new restaurant, the delicacies and her method.
TB: What’s your overarching philosophy at Stella Cucina?
SS: My philosophy was to create a eating expertise that stimulates all senses by incorporating visible artwork, design, music, premier service, comfy seating and recent, genuine Italian delicacies. I aimed to create and function a restaurant that serves spectacular, genuine and clear Italian delicacies, and gives a novel sense of tradition and design to Boulder that the group has but to expertise. Moreover, I wished to include a lounge part that opens after dinner service that gives a wide array of music and a dance ground.
I wished to open one thing I used to be obsessed with and felt just like the Boulder group may benefit from.
TB: What can diners count on from the restaurant’s ambiance, decor and vibes?
SS: Miguel Quismondo designed Stella’s Cucina, incorporating Artwork Deco inspiration. When diners be a part of us for a night, they will count on an attractive, subtle, inviting and chic ambiance. I need individuals to really feel comfy and relaxed, and I wished to create one thing revolutionary that offered a novel expertise to friends and made an impression.
We see our area lending itself to every kind of events, from first dates to celebrations, to only eager to exit, have a scrumptious cocktail, hearken to unimaginable music and meet and work together with individuals. We additionally need individuals to know they will hire out the occasion area and a non-public eating room that seats 12-14 individuals.
TB: How did you method the menu? What are a couple of of your favourite dishes in the mean time?
SS: The primary purpose with the menu was to have genuine Italian delicacies, not specializing in one explicit space or affect, however incorporating traditions from everywhere in the nation. We additionally wished to focus on and make the most of native elements from right here in Colorado.
As an Italian, I’m significantly drawn to our menu’s pasta and risotto part. Our chef has our recent pasta recipe right down to a science, so being right here in Colorado and realizing how distinctive the standard of the lamb is, I like to recommend our house-made tagliolini with a lamb ragu. One other dish I really like is the veal Milanese, a thinly pounded, breaded veal chop that’s pan-fried with a vibrant, recent, citrusy arugula salad with child tomatoes. This can be a giant dish and ideal for 2. The mar Tirreno, our seared octopus, is cooked to perfection with a vibrant olive and tomato sauce. Our whole-roasted spigola (branzino) is flown in in a single day three to 4 occasions per week from the Mediterranean. This dish actually transports me again to Italy. Lastly, all of our desserts are fairly particular. Nevertheless, my favourite is the montenevoso. This can be a semifreddo product of terrone, a nougat with items of various nuts and a darkish chocolate drizzle.
TB: Why Boulder? What introduced you right here, and what has stored you right here? What’s it about this group that led you to open a restaurant right here?
SS: I used to be first at Tulane College in New Orleans for a 12 months and was not the largest fan of dwelling there. It was very humid, with no seasons and heavy meals. So I wished to go someplace nearly “reverse” and landed in Boulder, Colorado. I completed faculty at CU Boulder and couldn’t get sufficient of Boulder or Colorado. I had by no means skilled mountain life earlier than, however was completely and nonetheless am blown away by the Rocky Mountains. After dwelling right here for nearly 10 years, I wished to open one thing I used to be obsessed with but in addition one thing I felt like Boulder was lacking.
As a group member who solely needs one of the best for Boulder, I wished to deliver one thing Boulder might use. I discovered it very exhausting to seek out genuine Italian delicacies and someplace to get drinks or hearken to music after 10 p.m.
TB: Are you able to share extra concerning the music program you hope to supply on the restaurant?
SS: Music is an important ingredient of a superb eating expertise and, on high of that, I seen the group lacked cocktail lounges. I respect all music and would love totally different genres for various nights of the week, together with a jazz night time, R&B night time, disco night time and extra. For now, we’re beginning on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. After dinner service has ended and our kitchen has closed between 9 and 10 p.m., our music will progressively get louder whereas nonetheless providing our complete beverage menu till shut.
We’ve got a state-of-the-art sound system and insulated velvet partitions to boost your musical expertise. Ultimately, we are going to develop our music nights to the opposite nights of the week as we acquire extra notoriety and publicity.
TB: What else would you like extra individuals to know?
SS: I’m deeply obsessed with Stella’s Cucina; It’s my coronary heart and soul. I picked each element, from the glass and silverware to the artwork. I need individuals to know the way a lot I really like and look after it and the way excited we’re to share it with them.