Once a private dining hall driven by a food-obsessed husband/wife team, East Burnside's Luce has just doubled in size and morphed into a light-filled, full-service Italian resto and mercantile shop still run by the cute couple, who've also installed a striking black and white-checkered floor, shelves of sundries, and a homey kitchen explorable on your way to the restrooms -- all inspired by the duo's love of Italia's laid-back "old man bars", because Neil Young songs would drive anyone to drink. The goods you want when you're out on the weekend:
The Menu: Thanks to the dude who held it down at the beloved Navarre, Luce offers pan-Boot fare starting with an extensive antipasti list with housemade chicken-liver mousse, and lightly sautéed green beans wrapped in fat-veined, imported prosciutto. Carbo-load for that...um...big race with both housemade and dried pasta dishes including small Parm-stuffed cappelletti served in the rich broth it's cooked in, and of course entrees including a lasagna-ish fried eggplant dish with saffron rice that’s layered with tomato sauce and baked, which incidentally describes how most adults eat SpaghettiOs. Uh oh!
The Merch: Stock up on pantry-pimpers like imported dried orecchiette from Ritrovo, or skinny, hollow bucatino from Napoli, which can be thrown into an imported tomato sauce along with sardines, anchovies, and tuna packed in olive oil, and probably also mushrooms that you can clean with your new Swedish handmade mushroom brush found next to the fish/ potato pokers, which you'll avoid having to become as long as your date loves your cooking.
While Luce's resto and store're are slinging noodles five days a week, their event space is still open for reservations and'll continue to host special dinners, to which you should bring your Cinnamon Girl following a strong Harvest. After the Gold Rush, probably.