We talked with Brian Alvey, co-owner of the upcoming Carrelli, an Italian eatery, bar, and wine garden that will open (if everything goes as planned) next month along Virginia Avenue in Fountain Square. Here’s what he had to say about his Italian heritage, his competitors, and plans for an interesting menu concept.
Katie Dawson: Why did you choose the name Carrelli?
Brian Alvey: “Carrelli” means both “trolleys” and “carts” in Italian. We picked it because of all the old trolleys that used to run up and down Virginia Avenue, where the Cultural Trail now is. It is also out of respect for local Italian-American history and that group’s heavy involvement in the produce industry–all of the produce carts that traveled up and down Virginia Avenue through Fountain Square and the Holy Rosary neighborhood.
KD: Do you have an opening date?
BA: ASAP. We’re doing the remodel currently, and then we have to wait to be approved by all the various government agencies. Hopefully, it will be by early June.
KD: What are you doing to the space itself to get it ready?
BA: It’s mostly cosmetic. We are going to be building a bar, and we are upgrading the restroom facilities as well as other things.
KD: What will your menu focus on?
BA: We are going to put together a different style of menu than most of the other Italian restaurants that are within a short drive from Fountain Square. For instance, we’re not going to have any basic pizza or anything of that nature, as there already is a great place for pizza right up the street at South of Chicago. We will have fresh-made, quality pastas in several types and flavors. We will be exclusively using Nicole Taylor‘s fresh-made gourmet pastas. With those pasta choices there will also be an assortment of top-notch sauces. Our patrons will be able to pick a pasta and their sauce for a build-your-own pasta dish. And we will be serving quality Italian sandwiches.
KD: What else have you done around town?
BA: I am the former owner of the former Vollrath Tavern.
KD: Why did you choose Fountain Square?
BA: Fountain Square is exploding with revitalization, and it’s become a cultural magnet with respect to all forms of the arts. It has an amazing, positive small-town feel combined with the energy of a big city. It’s also within walking distance to Indianapolis’ historical old Italian-American neighborhood.
KD: What are some of your favorite restaurants in town?
BA: My family loves to eat at South of Chicago, Augustino’s, and Vito Provolone’s when we’re in the mood for Italian. I eat lunch at The Red Lion Grog House one to two times a week. I always enjoy grabbing a bite to eat at the Brass Ring in Fountain Square and The Sinking Ship on North College. Greek Islands on South Meridian has been a favorite of mine for years. My guilty pleasure very often is Peppy Grill, but when we want a great plate of good old-fashioned country home cooking, my family and I head for Aunt Judy’s Restaurant in downtown Franklin.