PISTOIA and NEW YORK – if you are in Pistoia and you want an authentic Made in Italy meal, simple but of high quality, put in your GPS Via Dei Fabbri 7/9, destination: Fiaschetteria La Pace. I’d like to talk to you about this welcoming spot in the Pistoia Old Town (if you are driving there, you need to park outside the ZTL area) through the words of the owner, Matteo. But if you’re in USA you can drive to Fiaschetteria in New York, the restaurant is in Manhattan!
As soon as I entered Fiaschetteria La Pace in Pistoia, I felt at home (and not only because I was coming from a long walk under the rain in a very cold morning of December), because that place has a very simple and cozy atmosphere; its vintage furniture has original pieces and different one from another, and your eyes span from chairs to tables to discover unusual and original touches. Matteo explains to me that Fiaschetteria La Pace is also that: recycled and restored materials, coming from the most different places (schools, offices, bars…). Fascinated by this story, my interview starts in fact from the very the location:
Is this a historic building?
Yes, it’s from the 1600s: on this street the artisans would show their products and here (pointing at the window) there are still the artisanal benches restored in the 1960s.
How long have you owned this place?
For 5 years. Before my partner and I decided to buy it and open the Fiaschetteria La Pace, there was a clothing store.
Where does the name “La Pace” come from?
It’s in honor of the first fiaschetteria (fiaschetta in Italian means flask) that my partner’s great grand father owned in Casalguidi, Tuscany.
Did you change anything in the structure of the place? Any restoration?
The main structure has been left as it was, we just added the restrooms and the bar area. The main kitchen is on the first floor, and it is sometimes used for big dinners and events.
What are your working hours? Are you open at lunch as well?
In winter we are open from 4pm to 2am, and we offer wine bar, cocktail bar, happy hour and after hour. In summer, when there are more tourists, we open for lunch as well.
In terms of customers, what’s your audience?
Well, a little bit of everything: local tourism, young groups, foreigners. Pistoia has a fervid “square life”, people love to be outdoor, meeting at cafes, restaurants and bars. People spend a lot of time in the Old Town which is very nice and full of characteristic views and spots.
Yes, Pistoia downtown is a little jewel, nice stores, nice bars and restaurants, people are friendly, there is a very welcoming atmosphere!
Moving on to your menu, which kind of cuisine do you offer?
The initial idea was to offer something very simple, a bottle of wine with cured meat and cheese, like the old fiaschetterie of 1950s.
..only traditional products from Tuscany?
Of course: Prosciutto Toscano, Spalla Soprassata, Capocollo, Sbriciolona, Pecorini…
With time, understanding our customers needs and looking at the competition, we changed our idea and we extended our menu: We still offer the old cured meat and cheese platters, but we introduced restaurant courses: antipasto, prime e second piatti. We don’t want to go out of the box, our mission is to remain within the high quality/traditional cuisine. In addition, our dishes are made with local products, everything rigorously certified.
Simple but high quality cuisine: is this the same approach you adopted for the New York City, NY spot?
My partner has always been a New York fan and a year ago, after his latest trip to the US, a friend of his connected us with the owner of a restaurant in Manhattan that was looking for partners to boost his restaurant that was going to a rough time. We decided to offer the same type of cuisine we offer in Italy, with the same exact menu.
And is it working?
Absolutely! We’ve been awarded on specialized magazines, ranking, websites… a real success!
Ho do you do with the products? Do you import them?
Some of them are imported directly form Italy, like Prosciutto San Daniele and the cheese. The pasta, on the other hand, is home made in NY. Some of our employees moved to the US, including one of the chef. We wanted to recreate an authentic Italian atmosphere.
Honestly, I am always very wary of the Italian restaurants outside Italy, but this one… “Sembra Buono! (Sounds good!)” What is the name of the NY spot?
Thanking Matteo for the coffee (unfortunately I don’t drink wine), I wish him good luck for his Fiaschetteria La Pace in Pistoia and its “little American sister”.
In the meantime, I recommend you to start wit the Italian one…
Here picture of Fiaschetteria in New York, the restaurant in Manhattan.
Photo copyright @tinabfoto
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