Restaurateur Behind Ribalta and Bianca Planning Union Square Italian Eatery

Yet-to-be-named restaurant is set to replace farm-to-table venue Villanelle.
Restaurateur Behind Ribalta and Bianca Planning Union Square Italian Eatery
Sister eatery Ribalta | Photo: Official

Restaurateur Rosario Procino, known for his Italian eateries Ribalta and Bianca, alongside Chef Pasquale Cozzolino, are expanding their culinary portfolio with a new yet-to-be-named restaurant in Union Square.

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The upcoming dining spot will take residence at 15 E 12th St, formerly the location of the farm-to-table venue Villanelle. Procino and Cozzolino have submitted plans for the establishment, which is anticipated to feature an Italian-style menu, aligning with the restaurateur’s established culinary approach.

The sample menu provided in the filing offers a glimpse into the gastronomic experience diners can expect, showcasing a variety of starters, gourmet breads, salads, pastas, and entrees that emphasize Italian flavors and ingredients. Among the highlighted starters are Fritto Misto, featuring fried local calamari, shrimp, sage, fennel, lemon, and a tomato aioli dip, priced at $22, and Crocchette di Melanzane, light-fried eggplant croquettes filled with Robiola, Parmigiano Reggiano, and mozzarella, for $17. Another starter, Provola al Forno, will offer baked smoked mozzarella in tomato sauce for $17.

The gourmet breads section includes items like Gnocco Fritto, served with 24 months aged Prosciutto Di Parma, imported buffalo mozzarella, and fried dough, listed at $23, and a Salmone flatbread featuring smoked salmon, rughetta, stracciatella for $21.

Salad options will feature Segato di Carciofi, consisting of thinly sliced artichokes hearts with lemon extra virgin olive oil and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano for $19, and La Finta Cesare, a twist on the classic Caesar with a romaine wedge, Bianca’s dressing, and smoked salmon for $21.

Pasta offerings will include Cacio e Pepe Tartufata with orecchiette, Pecorino Romano, black pepper, and truffle carpaccio for $26, and Gnocchi Sorrentina, featuring oven-baked potato gnocchi with San Marzano tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil for $21.

For entrees, the Mediterranean Branzino will be presented as a whole oven-baked branzino with lemon, extra virgin olive oil, parsley, and sautéed spinach for $33, alongside an Organic Roasted Chicken served with roasted vegetables for $27.

Further details regarding the restaurant’s official name, opening date, and additional menu items will be shared as the project progresses.

Rosario was born and raised in Naples, Italy, where he paid his way through school by working in local restaurants and night clubs, according to the restaurateur’s bio.

Earning his Master’s degree in Computer Science Engineering from the University of Napoli, he ventured to New York in 1998 and spent six years in the telecommunications sector before following his passion for Italian gastronomy and culture. His journey in the culinary world took a significant turn when he oversaw East Coast Sales for Academia Barilla, the largest producer of pasta globally. In 2009, he embarked on his dream project by establishing Kestè Pizza & Vino.

Kestè was sold in 2012 and the following year, in the spring, he partnered with Cozzolino to launch Ribalta in Union Square. By October 2014, Ribalta had won the hearts of Timeout readers, earning the title of “Best Pizza” in NYC. Further acclaim came in January 2015 when NY Magazine highlighted Ribalta’s “Spaghetti al Pomodoro” on their esteemed “Best of NY” list.

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

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