Again in January, TikTok meals influencer Ashley Rodriguez posted a glowing video on La Parolaccia. “Somebody desires to take you on an Italian date and you do not know the place to go? It’s essential to inform them you’ve got been dying to strive La Parolaccia in Lengthy Seashore, California. The put up, which featured photos mouth-watering pastas and pizzas from the restaurant, garnered practically 400,000 likes and made the restaurant unimaginable to enter for months – an irony, as it is a place that eschews traits for custom and has carved out a spot to determine itself within the crowded Italian house of Southern California by sticking to its unwavering dedication to Roman delicacies.
In 2004, Stefano Procaccini, a Rome native who had introduced his household to the shores of Lengthy Seashore, knew he wished to offer the Bluff Heights neighborhood one thing fairly easy: a style of Rome – and a earlier than – style of Rome correct. And the place he determined to do it was a storefront nestled between what was a lounge and an intercontinental restaurant by the identify of Home of Madame JoJo. The Parolaccia was born.
Stefano adorned the house in heat earth tones and numerous Italian souvenirs – a signed Totti jersey right here, a large picture of the Positano coast there, a The nice life film poster paired with a Roman gladiator’s chest piece – and opened with a tiny however mighty 20-seat set, echoing the numerous seemingly numerous cafes and eating places that line the streets of Rome.
On the menu, he deliberately underlined uniquely Roman dishes. There have been specific honors of Roman mom doughs like amatriciana, carbonara and cacio e pepe, staples that stay to today. Carciofini dorati (fried artichokes) and involtini di melanzane (aubergine roulades with do-it-yourself ricotta) made court docket on the starter menu. And Stefano supplied promotions that, whereas frequent in Rome, weren’t extraordinary for Italian joints in Lengthy Seashore; assume venison steak topped with Barolo sauce or bone-in veal shank over creamy polenta.
And whereas these dishes now outline La Parolaccia as Lengthy Seashore’s mainstay of Roman excellence, it wasn’t essentially an prompt hit from the beginning.
“Folks would come and ask for Rooster Alfredo,” says Stefano, referring to the Americanization of Italian delicacies over the many years. “Or they need prawns with carbonara. I might gladly put the shrimp apart, however I would not serve my carbonara with it.
Though it may appear a bit of odd on the floor, Stefano’s charisma and reverent honesty with custom is infectious. This made prospects belief his selections, permitting Stefano, and in the end his son and daughter, Michael and Francesca, to efficiently introduce Lengthy Seashore to Roman delicacies in a means that no different restaurant within the metropolis has performed since – and lengthy earlier than Evan Funke’s temple. to Roman delicacies, mother wolfhas change into a hard-to-secure reserving in Hollywood.
“These first prospects are in our blood right here,” says Stefano. “They got here with their little lady and now they’re having a cocktail party to have fun her getting a allow. One in every of our bus drivers, Parker, got here right here as a child, and now he works right here. It actually displays what I grew up in Italy.
With this group connection got here enlargement: In 2010, the restaurant was in a position to push into the east facet of the constructing to put in an Italian wood-fired oven. In 2014, he took over the house simply on his west facet to create a small enoteca centered on assaggini (small bites). Lately, the household even marked off the westernmost a part of the constructing, which the Procaccini are nonetheless deciding what to do with, Michael hinting that “it’ll positively be a extra relaxed house that may open sooner than the restaurant, like A espresso”. Both means, the household can formally sanction your entire property as Procaccini nation.
Whereas the massive components within the house’s preliminary enlargement have been Stefano’s imaginative and prescient and appeal, it was below the proud watch of his son Michael that the restaurant soared right into a revered authority not only for pasta. , but in addition for pizza.
Michael studied on the Sede Nazionale della Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli in Parma and is now an teacher for the college; he jokes that he was given the title of pizza maker at beginning. The jovial joke additionally provides perception into how Michael’s obsession with pizza created a quintessentially Roman pizzeria in a metropolis the place pizza in all its varieties – ready-made pies from the 4th Horseman and Little Coyote to the Neapolitan big Michael’s on Naples to the artisanal excursions of chef Michael Mina on the Bungalow Kitchen – has change into a booming class.
After dusting his fingers with flour as a baby whereas making pasta at La Parolaccia, Michael has lengthy been within the deep waters of Italian carby vigils: he can now be seen making platters of focaccia , to fill plastic tubs with rounds of dough and to run a wood-fired oven that reaches over 900 levels. He follows a really specific philosophy in the case of pizza: with 100 totally different pizza makers, there are 100 totally different pizzas – and that is one thing to embrace.
“My pizza is consistently altering – it isn’t the identical as two weeks in the past, not to mention 5 years in the past,” Michael stated. “I am exploring with totally different flours, from in a single day Italian variations to domestically floor ones. Our restaurant is best now than it is ever been. And sure, folks nonetheless come searching for New York or from Neapolitan, however we now have all the time been what we’re: Romans, to the core.
How does this translate? Contemporary focaccia sandwiches full of mortadella and burrata. Pizza in pala, or “from the paddle”, a play on the Roman pizza in teglia which is often baked in a baking sheet, however within the case of La Parolaccia it’s tossed immediately onto the stone from the paddle. There’s additionally the tonda Romana, typically referred to as scrocchiarella, a really skinny pizza that magically straddles the road between full crisp and pure, powerful meat.
After all, it took years for Michael to not solely study to belief himself, but in addition to belief the spirit of La Parolaccia at a time when Roman delicacies is coming into vogue and Individuals are beginning to actually perceive that Italian delicacies comes from many areas.
“Typically, I admit it, I get caught up on this Instagram factor and attempt to do loopy issues,” Michael stated, noting issues like that outburst earlier this yr on TikTok. “However on the finish of the day, the most effective pizza tends to be the best. I’ll all the time train my curiosity however I additionally pursue nostalgia: what I miss at dwelling in Rome are pizza bianca, pizza rossa, a panini with nothing however mortadella – easy issues that we do not do not actually have right here however wish to deliver into the fold commonly.
This simultaneous embrace of exploring whereas avoiding social media-driven hype meals is one thing the Procaccinis, particularly Michael, can simply keep away from. Sharing twin nationality between america and Italy, the household travels extensively to Rome, and as Michael takes the enterprise extra firmly into his personal fingers each via pizza and social media, the years and years of constructing La Parolaccia all the time comes right down to an idea that’s typically so simple as Italian delicacies itself.
“My father was proper from the beginning: La Parolaccia will not be right here to reinvent something,” says Michael. “We make carbonara, amatriciana and pizza – issues lots of people do. However what units so many individuals aside is that these aren’t issues we deliver again to america once we return from Rome. These are the plates my dad and nonna made for me once I was rising up.
In different phrases, La Parolaccia’s aura is not kitschy or stylish, and it isn’t nearly a strained understanding of “authenticity.” The spirit of the restaurant is a legacy of traditions which have additionally been revered and challenged.
“There is a purpose we’re virtually 20 years previous,” says Stefano. “And we now have the guts to imagine that we will do 20 extra. What we do is share and create love via Italian delicacies. My recollections, the recollections of my dad and mom and my kids. We let’s create love.
La Parolaccia is open Tuesday to Thursday from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from midday to 9 p.m.
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