Burrasca Will Open Inside the Former Block’s Café Space in July

The celebrated Florentine cart will go brick-and-mortar with hand-made pastas, an all-Tuscan bar, and 'Big Night' charm.

By Benjamin Tepler June 4, 2015

Braised beef with polenta at Burrasca

Image: Nomad

In the winter of 2013, we stumbled on a new food cart tucked in the corner of the Southeast Ankeny and 28th pod. It billed itself as authentic Florentine comfort food, serving thick stews of wine-braised squid and gossamer ribbons of hand-made papardelle with wild boar, for only $8 a plate.

It was, perhaps, the greatest mobile revelation since Nong opened her khao man gai stand to bewildered eaters in 2009.

After a six-month closure and weeks of Kickstarter campaigning (check out their page to read the best pledge gifts in Kickstarter history), Burrasca will reopen as a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 2032 SE Clinton St. inside the former Block’s Café space in the first week of July.

Owners Paolo Calamai (a Florentine native) and his partner Elizabeth Petrosian tell Eat Beat they’ll keep the seasonal favorites, like squid inzimino and spinach-ricotta gnudi, while expanding into a full menu with chicken liver crostini, savory artichoke flan, fennel pollen-roasted pork loin, and Livornese-style tomato-stewed shark—yes, it’s a thing. Desserts stick to the Tuscan playlist too, with zuccotto (a domed, whipped cream-stuffed sponge cake) and torta della nonna (pine nut-covered custard pie). 

Co-owner Paolo Calamai

The old Blocks space, an airy 40-seat eatery with garage doors and patio seating for 10, will be largely unchanged—they’ll add a few Burrasca flourishes, like Alinari Brother’s photographs of old-world Italy, and the skull of a bull from the Maremma (Tuscan cowboy country). Behind the bar counter, expect an all-Tuscan wine and craft beer list, carefully chosen from Calamai’s hometown, alongside grappa flights and a small selection of cocktails.

Calamai and Petrosian are shooting to open the first week of July, with plans for lunch and dinner.

2032 SE Clinton St
Lunch: 11:30 am-2:30 pm,
Dinner: 5-9 pm

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