COMING SOON: Napolese Downtown
Martha Hoover is putting the finishing touches on her second location of Napolese, at 30 S. Meridian St. (across the lobby from The Oceanaire Seafood Room). The floors are finished, many of the lamps are installed, and the tables and chairs were in the dining room. Hopefully after Thursday's job fair, she'll check the employees off the list.
If you're not familiar with the location, it's in the Deco-style skyscraper that originally housed the L.S. Ayres men's shop. Although Hoover might have gained more seating by adding a second level for seating, she decided to keep the 17-foot ceilings intact and let the space speak for itself. The inside will seat just short of 100 people at bistro-style chairs and architectural drafting chairs. In the warmer months, there will be six outdoor tables. The actual building will give this Napolese a more downtown feel. "I can already hear the noise—the silverware dropping, people talking, music," says Hoover. Since the ceilings are so tall, Hoover will do something to curb the sound. She's experimenting with her design team to see if adhering some sort of fabric underneath the tables might bring the noise down just a tad.
As far as the food goes, the menu will remain the same. The guts of the kitchen will be open (just like the original location). And Hoover knows downtown fans will want takeout. Napolese won't offer by the slice (this is Neapolitan-style, after all) but will make room for counter-service takeout. Along with pizza, downtowners can get an authentic espresso-based coffee to go. Quartinos of wine will flow, but unlike the 49th and Penn location, the downtown one has a three-way permit. (I see Campari in my future.)
Hoover has also taken over the lease of the L.S. Ayres tea room upstairs. Though not 100-percent sure what she'll do with the space, she's leaning toward catered events.