Before Burger Stevens owner Don Salamone started layering beef patties with Tillamook cheese and extravagant sauce, just before he worked the line at glitzy Las Vegas kitchens like Joël Robuchon or Cafe Person Savoy, prior to he cooked 16-man or woman dinners for British musician Robbie Williams as his non-public chef, Salamone would sit down to meals of Sunday sauce, meatballs, and vinegar-laden salads of romaine and chickpeas with his mother in Rochester, New York. “I constantly used to make pleasurable of my mother, ‘We’re earning sauce? Just sauce?’” he suggests, with a chuckle. The dish, of study course, is an Italian American tradition: a sugo, sometimes termed Sunday gravy, typically built with numerous cuts of meat like spare ribs and ground pork.
Salamone arrives from a big Italian-American household. His uncle would make Italian sausage at his butcher shop, his mother would bake Italian cookies for holiday seasons, and the full relatives would gather for celebrations in excess of bowls of ricotta gnocchi. When the pandemic commenced, he felt an overwhelming urge to return to all those foods, just one that had been setting up above many years. So, on a whim, he stopped selling burgers out of Southeast Portland bar Dig A Pony’s wander-up window, and instead started having pre-orders of lasagnas, spaghetti, and eggplant parmigiana. “It’s one thing I’ve usually desired to do, ever because I started cooking, was to make my family’s Italian foods. What I’m making is what we take in each 7 days to this working day,” Salamone states. “The decision to swap from burgers to Italian food was semi-spontaneous, but it is simply because I required to feed families.”
It was a hit: The drive for consolation foodstuff pulled in Portlanders, and Salamone started offering out 7 days immediately after 7 days. Now, as restaurants get ready to reopen fully on June 30, Salamone has determined to maintain on to his pandemic pop-up: Stevens Italiano will become the long lasting culinary presence in Dig A Pony, in advance of it opens as a Beaverton cafe.
Starting off Saturday, July 3, Dig A Pony will reopen on SE Grand with a menu of relaxed Italian fare, together with four sandwiches, fried calamari with banana peppers, and ricotta gnocchi in vodka sauce. The ricotta gnocchi is genuine to his family’s recipe vodka sauce, ubiquitous on the East Coastline, can be tougher to spot on Italian menus close to the Pacific Northwest. “I do not believe I knew about potato gnocchi until eventually I moved absent from property,” Salamone states. “My whole spouse and children generally made it with ricotta cheese, cheese dumplings with vodka sauce, very simple but actually good.”
The sandwiches on the menu behave just about like a gradient, exhibiting the kitchen’s changeover from Burger Stevens to Stevens Italiano. The bar will nonetheless provide a beef burger, albeit just one unique from the Burger Stevens burger Salamone will grind brisket for the patties in-dwelling. “It form of reminds me of pizza joints again dwelling,” Salamone suggests. “Yeah, it is a pizza joint, but occasionally they have a random burger on there that is seriously very good.” Then, Salamone will make a kind of mid-metamorphosis sandwich, an Italian sausage smash burger topped with new mozzarella and pepper and onions, all stacked on a garlic butter toasted bun. The sausage recipe is a choose on his uncle’s, with red wine, refreshing pink pepper, and a beef and pork mix. From there, the other two sandwiches are quintessential Italian staples: An eggplant parm, with slim slices of evenly fried eggplant, and a rooster parm with brined, pounded, and fried rooster breasts. The two will come with tomato sauce and mozzarella, on Dos Hermanos bread. The rest of the menu is composed of vegetables and snack-y bar fare: Semolina-fried calamari with pepperoncinis (a typical East Coastline planning), garlic bread, fries, salad, with a square of tiramisu for dessert. “(Tiramisu) ought to be great and gentle and juicy as fuck, with a small more booze than what is intended to be there,” he suggests. “It’s wonderful, it’s not around the leading, with high high quality mascarpone.”
While Stevens Italiano chugs together in Portland suitable, Salamone will chip away at the final solution: a new restaurant in Beaverton. Salamone and his wife, Kate Laurents, are renovating a setting up on SW Very first, which they hope to open up as Stevens Italiano in spring 2022. There, Salamone will make a total slate of pastas, brick rooster, and other more substantial entrees. “I want to do some seasonal things combined with things I grew up with, things my family would be comfy ordering and taking in out below,” he says.
The cafe will have a comprehensive bar for cocktails, close to 70 seats indoors and out, with a chef’s counter and a vibe reminiscent of the dining places Salamone frequented growing up. “It’s not going to be official at all, but just a small a lot more elegant … We’re heading for a mid-century vibe, East Coastline Italian, à la Rochester,” he suggests. “It won’t have pink checkered tablecloths, but I’m hoping for black-and-white checkered flooring, some of the stereotypical shit. It is just a small extra of an current model.”
Stevens Italiano will open at 12055 SW To start with Avenue in Beaverton until eventually then, people today can try to eat Salamone’s Italian fare at Dig A Pony, 736 SE Grand Avenue.
• Stevens Italiano [Official]
• Dig A Pony [Instagram]
• Cult Cart Burger Stevens Morphs into Stevens Italiano [PoMo]