- Courtesy Of Shannon Alexander
- From left: Sara Chase, Wilson Ballantyne, Stefano Coppola and Chris Ruiz of Pearl Street Pizza
When Stefano Coppola and Wilson Ballantyne purchased a light blue, handmade Stefano Ferrara Forni brick oven in April, they put it in storage. Although the two New England Culinary Institute grads had toyed with the idea of opening a pizza business for years, they didn't have a location in mind.
"We both wanted to do it in Barre," said Coppola, who also owns Morse Block Deli. "But we had to find the right space."
Now the oven has found its home on the restaurant side of AR Market at 159 North Main Street in Barre. Co-owners Coppola, Ballantyne and Chris Ruiz are leasing the space and will open Pearl Street Pizza by January 1, 2022, executive chef Coppola said.
Pete Roscini Colman opened AR Market, which is attached to his Vermont Salumi curing facility, in fall 2020. He'll continue to sell specialty meats, cheeses and other grocery items.
"Pete really set us up for success," said Ballantyne, who will manage the front of the house. "And we're excited to work with the Vermont Salumi products he's making in-house on our charcuterie boards."
The market briefly had a wine bar this summer, and Pearl Street Pizza will bring back a few favorites from those days, including salumi and formaggi plates, and meatball al forno served over polenta with house red sauce, olive oil and fresh basil.
The restaurant will also serve Italian dishes such as Caesar salad, housemade pasta specials and seasonal burrata salad with local vegetables. Shareable plates will include wings, mussels and wood-fired octopus. Meat for osso bucco will be sourced from Fairmont Farm & Market in East Montpelier, and tiramisu will be made with Caledonia Spirits' Tom Cat gin and Carrier Roasting's coffee, head chef Sara Chase said.
The pizza will come in two varieties, Chase added: "We'll have the fancier, thinner Neapolitan style, and our grandma-style pizza by the slice, which is fluffier with a crispy crust." Also a NECI grad, Chase was most recently catering coordinator and sous chef at Morse Block Deli.
Co-owner and head bartender Ruiz tended bar at AR Market. For Pearl Street Pizza, he plans an approachable menu of wines by the glass and bottle, featuring varieties from Ellison Estate Vineyard. The classic "New York-style cocktail menu" will include old-fashioneds and two types of Negroni made with Vermont Vermouth, Ruiz said.
The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner, offering takeout and on-site dining. Outdoor seating in the adjacent Pearl Street pedestrian walkway will be added this summer.
"We want to make this a family atmosphere," Coppola said, "and a meeting place for everyone in the community to come enjoy food and drink, no matter what their walk of life or pocketbook looks like."