Two-story Italian wine bar with a build-your-own bruschetta bar coming to Uptown next to Aria

Two-story Italian wine bar with a build-your-own bruschetta bar coming to Uptown next to Aria
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An Italian concept with a build-your-own bruschetta bar and cocktails from Bob Peters is coming to Uptown next to Aria.

City Smoke has officially closed in Uptown. Taking its place will be a Venetian-style wine bar featuring Italian small plates with a wine retail shop.

It’ll be named Cicchetti — pronounced “chee-KEH-tee.”

The owners of Aria Tuscan Grill (next door) are the team behind the new project.

Cicchetti plans to open in June. It will seat 81 customers at cocktail tables with chairs, settees and banquettes, as well as 17 at a cool central bar. The goal is to have the same vibe as a classic Venetian wine bar.

“I’m most excited to be working with such a great team like Pierre Bader and Briana Cohen to help put together another amazing cocktail program for the city of Charlotte,” Bob Peters told me. He’s been hired by Chicchetti as a cocktail consultant.

“I’ve enjoyed this concept when traveling,” explained Pierre Bader of Sonoma Restaurant Group, “and believe it will be a welcome addition and fun option in the local bar and dining scene. The experience here could range from after-work or pre-dinner bites and drinks, to a leisurely meal of small Italian dishes over wine with friends or a late evening nightcap and snacks.”


“The design of the new Cicchetti space fuses Old-World Italian with clean modern elements to bring a more traditional design into the modern age,” said designer Cicley Sullivan, “Bold patterns, warm woods and metals, along with soft lighting and fabrics, provide warmth and character in the glass-enclosed, two-story space.”

Here’s a few of the noteworthy dishes that you’ll find on Cicchetti’s menu:

  • Pan-fried polpettine di manzo (beef meatballs), a trademark cicchetto with minced beef, whipped potato, and speck
  • Baccalà fritters (Italian-style salt cod)
  • Lamb flatbread with tahini, tomatoes and mint
  • Cuban sandwich with rotisserie pork shoulder, ham, pickes, Swiss cheese and dijonaise
  • Polenta crostini with salume and warm smoked mozzarella
  • Sautéed Venetian artichoke salad with asiago cheese and crisp bruschetta
  • Mini ricotta frittata
  • Pan-fried lump crabmeat polpettine with fresh thyme, parsley and dried chili
  • Venetian chopped liver crostini with sweet onion, sultanas, pine nuts and crisp prosciutto
  • Scallop gratin with olive oil, garlic, fresh parsley and bread crumbs
  • Carpaccio of swordfish and rocket bruschetta
  • Aubergine patties with fresh parsley, garlic, cumin and fresh lemon
  • Tramezzini (finger sandwiches on grilled ciabatta) such as porchetta, fire-roasted peppers and gremolata aioli; smoked salmon, whipped goat cheese and fresh arugula pesto; rosemary prosciutto cotto, sliced, hard-boiled egg and truffle aioli.
  • Variety of charcuterie ($5 to $6.50)
  • Build-your-own bruschetta bar, with spreads like arugula pesto, cannellini bean puree, lemon-roasted eggplant, and roasted red pepper Parmigiano; and toppings like fresh mozzarella, prosciutto, goat cheese, olives, fresh herbs, grilled shrimp, and porchetta.

Pricing: Expect appetizers around $8, sandwiches around $12 and larger dishes around $18.

Don’t sleep on the wine retail at Chicchetti

“The shining star will be our impressive wine selection, priced at retail to go, or to be plucked from the shelf and enjoyed in-house for a small corkage fee,” said Bader. “We’ll also offer a full bar, from which you can order wine by the glass or bottle, a variety of beers on tap, or craft cocktails curated by local mixologist Bob Peters. These will include variations on classic Italian offerings like the Negroni and Venice’s own Spritz and Bellini.”

In terms of retail selection, expect a focus on Italian wines as well as other global selections. Wine can be purchased by the bottle or case (delivery in Uptown is available as well).

“Operations Manager and Wine Director Briana Cohen has been with our company for 22 years, and she’s developed into one of the foremost authorities on wine in this region, particularly of Italian producers,” stated Bader. “Her knowledge and passion will show in every aspect of Cicchetti’s wine program. This will be an impressive and memorable wine bar experience.”

[Agenda related guides: best Italian restaurants in Charlotte and coolest wine bars in Charlotte]

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