PORTLAND, Ore. (April 1, 2015) – Native Sicilian Executive Chef/Owner Francesco Inguaggiato announced today that he will open a new restaurant, Bellino Trattoria Siciliana, in the former Fratelli space in Portland’s Pearl District. Born in Palermo, Sicily’s capital city, Inguaggiato recently moved his family to bring authentic Sicilian cuisine to Portland. Inguaggiato owns two other Sicilian restaurants in Texas which he opened in 2004.
Located at 1230 NW Hoyt in the Pearl, Bellino Trattoria Siciliana (Bellino) is slated to open in the former, 2,200-square-foot Fratelli space on April 14. Serving lunch, Happy Hour and dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays, Inguaggiato brings 100 percent, classic and authentic Sicilian dishes to Portland. With Bellino, which is his mother’s maiden name, Inguaggiato is driven to deliver innovative cooking that is true to his Sicilian roots and brings traditional, Sicilian culinary culture to Portland.
As Executive Chef of Bellino, Inguaggiato is working with as much local and sustainable product, produce and protein as possible including partnerships with Nikky USA, Charlie’s Produce, Pacific Seafood, and Caffé Umbria, among his many local purveyors. Bringing wine directly from Sicily, Bellino will offer an extensive collection of Italian wines, a combination of local Portland and Italian beer, and a full bar. The main dining room will seat 48 and the bar will offer seating for eight plus additional standing room.
“Opening Bellino in such a progressive culinary city like Portland presents an incredible opportunity for me to bring the classic food of my childhood, growing up working in my Grandfather’s trattoria in Palermo, to local residents, our surrounding community and tourists alike. I’m eager and honored to prepare the food of my homeland for a city that serves as such a culinary leader.”
Given Sicily’s topography with its mountain towns and seaside villages, Bellino will offer traditional Sicilian meat, fish and vegetarian dishes and freshly-prepared pasta dishes in the form of Antipasti, Primi, Secondi and Dolci with gluten-free pasta and gluten-free options available including the following:
- Caponata, traditional Sicilian appetizer with eggplant, capers and green olives in a sweet and sour sauce;
- Cacio all’Argentiera, Caciocavallo cheese grilled in a balsamic vinegar reduction topped with fresh oregano and served on bruschetta bread;
- Involtini di Pollo alla Palermitana, organic chicken rolls stuffed with cheese and ham, lightly breaded and finished on the grill;
- Gnocchi Pesto Palermitano;
- Pesce Spada alla Trapanese, Swordfish Trapani style;
- Cacciucco, Italian Fish Stew;
- Sfiziosita, “Hamburger” Siciliano, a signature Sicilian dish offering a vegetarian version of a hamburger with an eggplant burger and garbanzo bean fries.
The menu will also feature Assaggini, or Sicilian tapas like Arancini, Crocchette and Panelle, fried Garbanzo Bean Fritters which are a popular street food in Sicily. The restaurant will also offer a rotating, four-course Tasting Menu.
Working with Portland’s Chris Setser of Surface Brokers, LLC and Shannon Ponciano of Ponciano Design, Inguaggiato fully renovated and redesigned the former Fratelli space by taking the existing urban space, mixing in some classic and vintage elements and infusing a modern twist. The main dining room features a combination of bench and chair seating. The benches are church pews curated from Saint Andrew Catholic Church on Northeast Alberta Avenue in Portland and were purchased from Grand Marketplace, the vintage antique and design store in the burgeoning Central Eastside Industrial District. The wooden pews run the perimeter of the dining room and date back to the early 1900s. Tables feature either marble or wood tops and the original and rustic concrete floor is preserved. In a nod to the restaurant that formerly inhabited the space, Inguaggiato repurposed the original chandelier from Fratelli, added Edison bulbs for a vintage effect, and it hangs from the dining room ceiling via pulley system. The newly-designed, marble-top bar features distressed, antique and open oak shelving with pipe accent on the back wall to showcase the Sicilian wine. On the surface of the bar’s back wall is wallpaper from England, featuring a take on Modiano’s logo, the leading manufacturer of the official Italian Playing Cards. Modiano’s logo is the Trinacria, the official symbol of Sicily that appears on the flag of Sicily. The Trinacria, a three-legged emblem, is the mythological symbol that represents the three corners of Sicily. With a 140-plus year history producing and manufacturing some of the best playing cards in the world, Modiano’s authentic Italian decks are true to their rich Italian heritage and the wallpaper reflects both the Trinacria and that heritage. The bar area also offers a partial open view into the kitchen.
“My vision for the space was to bring 100 percent Sicilian design elements with a ‘Made in Oregon’ feel to the restaurant,” added Inguaggiato.
Inguaggiato grew up working with his grandfather in his trattoria in Palermo, learning the ingredients and traditional preparation of Sicilian food. In addition to authentic Italian cuisine, Inguaggiato’s other passion was basketball and he played professional basketball for the Italian League in Italy for 18 years and coached professionally for three years. He married an American woman and the two moved to Texas where Inguaggiato opened two successful Sicilian restaurants in 2004. Inguaggiato still owns and serves as the Executive Chef of these two Texas-based restaurants.