Opening an Italian restaurant was always on celebrated chef Johnny Nunn’s plate, and on Friday, May 25, that’s finally happening with the opening of Corzetti. As the Merc first reported, the casual Italian pasta house is moving into the space that Muscadine vacated, and will serve plates of carbonara, eggplant tortellini, and the eponymous corzetti, a coin-shaped noodle.
Even when Nunn and his wife Kristina opened their flagship restaurant Verdigris, with its rustic French flavors, he was thinking about Italian food and putting homemade pastas on the menu to fill out vegetarian needs. “As someone who loves cooking, I like making pasta a lot,” Nunn says. “It’s an aspect of cooking I’ve always enjoyed.” He’ll be getting his chance at Corzetti, with the bulk of the menu devoted to pastas made in-house, served at affordable prices—a goal of the restaurant was to not have dishes over $20. Along with the pasta dishes are sides like chicken and sage meatballs, a Tuscan kale salad, and cannellini beans. Each evening will also see a different special.
While Corzetti is moving into Muscadine’s old space, Nunn is reflecting more on Tiga, the bar that was formerly there. Nunn describes it as having been “beloved;” he hopes Corzetti will fill the shoes of the neighborhood bar. To this end, a wine list, curated by Verdigris wine director Joe Volpert, will stay affordable with wines by the glass and bottle, while the cocktail menu, led by Multnomah Whiskey Library alum Quinton Wright, hews to Italian classics like Negroni and Godfathers. The bar area, with six stools and tables, will offer happy hour during the first and last hour of service each day, with food specials and currently undecided drink discounts.
And fans of Verdigris need not worry: The menu has been put into the hands of Chef Trevor Payne, who is keeping the rustic French spirit alive while adding his own touches, with all of Nunn’s confidence. Nunn describes himself as still being involved, he just doesn’t have a lot of time to do anything but stop in to “steal something” and head back down to Corzetti for the opening. Of that, he’s confident. “The things we know we’re going to be able to handle are the service and wine list, we have confidence in the food...In these moments we sometimes worry, ‘How do these all tie together?’ But I think we nailed it. It all works, it all goes together. We are really excited.”
• Johnny Nunn’s Corzetti Will Open This Friday [The Merc]
• All Verdigris coverage [EPDX]
• Verdigris Chef-Owner’s Newest Venture Will Be an Italian Spot [EPDX]
• Chef Johnny Nunn Leaves the French-ish Verdigris Kitchen [EPDX]