Cossetta will change--and stay the same--in big St. Paul expansion
St. Paul recently announced that one of its oldest and most storied restaurants, Cossetta Italian Market & Pizzeria, will receive $2 million in loans from the city for a renovation/expansion, which will cost at least $7 million total, as part of a larger rebuilding project for downtown. General manager Ray Vanyo, a Cossetta employee for 19 years, says the design plans haven't been finalized and he hasn't seen all the recipes, but he did pass along quite a few details about the new Cossetta.
First the design. The market will be expanded to include all of the current restaurant, which will house a meat market and new bakery. The restaurant will be relocated in the new building, which will also contain a pastry shop and gelateria. (The expansion will take place toward the current parking lot, and another parking area will be built on Smith Avenue.) Cossetta's is also planning a new, although small, wine shop, Vanyo says.
Owner Dave Cossetta has been traveling the globe--New York, Milan, Venice, Parma--for inspiration on the new design, Vanyo says, which will likely offer something from the Old World but be unique for St. Paul. Fifteen years ago, according to Vanyo, Cossetta toyed with the idea of franchising, which was debated, dismissed, and replaced with the idea of renovating the current location. The new Cossetta might start shaping up next spring, Vanyo says, and they want everything finished near the end of summer--Cossetta's 100th anniversary.
And will there be menu changes?
"Ohhh yeah," Vanyo says. "Our chefs have been working for about three years on new menu items. You have to tweak it 15 times to make it right," he says of new recipes. "And they have probably 1,200 to 1,500 new recipes that we've created. The restaurant will incorporate some. The market will incorporate some. The pasticceria, the gelateria--it will all incorporate some of these recipes and these menu changes. So it will be pretty extensive." Many items available at Cossetta's market will be on the restaurant menu, he says: fresh-roasted porchettas and turkettas, Italian beef roasts, and arancini rice balls, for example. One kitchen manager was sent to school in Italy for bread- and pastry-making.
Even better, Cossetta's prices are not expected to change.
"We're just sticking to what we do now," Vanyo sums up. "Just on a grander scale."
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