Did the pandemic get rid of Salt Lake City’s gold-coated steak? What this restaurant is executing to endure.

Transformed inside and out, La Trattoria di Francesco serves simplified food stuff that’s continue to deluxe but will not split the bank.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The pappardelle al tartufo at La Trattoria di Francesco — photographed Jan. 8 — is tossed in a sauce of eggs, butter and Parmesan, topped with shaved black truffles. The Italian restaurant has experienced to make huge changes to survive all through the pandemic.

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Inside of two months of opening, La Trattoria di Francesco had diners buzzing, renowned for its elevated Italian delicacies, like two $260 gold leaf-encrusted Piedmontese steaks with truffles — the most high-priced and extravagant in Utah.

Giuseppe Mirenda, whose spouse and children owns La Trattoria and the Sicilia Mia Cafe Team, remembers the commencing of March 2020 vividly. La Trattoria experienced just had its greatest 7 days considering that opening in January in Salt Lake City’s 15th and 15th neighborhood.

“We ended up carrying out wonderful. We were occupied each night,” Mirenda said, noting income had developed by 300%.

In just times, nonetheless, the spread of the coronavirus pressured the cafe to pivot, from making an attempt to continue being open up by complying with new wellness steering to closing its eating home on March 17.

Mirenda, depressed, didn’t depart dwelling for two months. He puzzled whether the new restaurant would reopen, and if so, when.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) The Chocolate Torte at La Trattoria di Francesco. The chocolate sponge cake is served with eggnog ice cream and berries. Friday, Jan. 8, 2021.

Although he and his spouse and children didn’t have any distinct solutions, they place a program into movement, producing a to-go menu for their eating places and using the downtime to transform the structures. Now, about a calendar year considering the fact that it initial opened, La Trattoria has transformed inside of and out, changing to survive the pandemic.

“Sometimes you are heading to get, in some cases you’re heading to drop. From time to time you are likely to be successful, at times you are not heading to do well,” Mirenda said. “We’re Alright with that. … When we start out, we say, ‘We now missing.’ That’s how we get started. It is up to us to go up.”

Who orders a gold-coated steak?

From the starting, the Mirendas supposed La Trattoria to be a action up from its sister places to eat — a no-rush, fine-dining practical experience with the optimum good quality components, traditional recipes from various locations of Italy crafted by chef Francesco Mirenda (the restaurant’s namesake and Mirenda’s father) and tableside assistance.

The original menu integrated extra than 40 products, showcasing a dozen pastas, such as the family’s well known carbonara, and 10 price tag details for its steak, relying on the slice and choice among 3 sauces or the 24-karat gold and truffles. Mirenda reported guests who requested the extra extravagant dishes involved Utah’s upper echelon — businesspeople, physicians and specialist sporting activities gamers — though the restaurant serves a assortment of diners.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Salt Lake City’s most high-priced and extravagant steaks expense up to $260 and are topped with edible gold flakes

But to survive the pandemic, Mirenda realized matters had to transform.

When La Trattoria resumed dine-in provider in mid-July, it felt a lot more like a grand opening, with a new menu with much less dishes and reduced rates. The Piedmontese and wagyu steaks remained (with the solution to include truffles), though the gold-encrusted variation obtained the ax, out of concern that it might not promote in the course of the pandemic and the stigma surrounding the charge, Mirenda said — though he pointed out that patrons can nonetheless ask for it.

He mentioned the relatives built the alterations to make La Trattoria “more comfy for everyone.”

“[The food is] usually awesome, but now, without the need of bringing down the excellent, you however can get the same food for much less,” he said.

The Mirendas also unveiled The Lounge at La Trattoria, the family’s pandemic project.

At first, they had prepared to use the storage area following doorway to La Trattoria as a pastry shop but identified that would charge too significantly, Mirenda mentioned. So they produced The Lounge in its place, envisioning a bar exactly where visitors could get all-day tapas with a cocktail or a late-night food with a glass of wine — “something quick … not filling, just gentle, pleasant.”

The remodel provided touching up and getting rid of hen wire from an getting old Speculate Bread mural painted on the exposed brick wall that divides the bar and eating rooms. The Mirendas also hung a 10,000-in addition piece tile mosaic featuring newlyweds, and additional tufted blue and gray accent chairs and Venetian glasses for a fashionable, but tasteful vibe.

“We claimed if we go out, we go out with a growth,” he claimed. “… This is a great time to in fact do items. Was it a good time to expend the funds? Perhaps not. But we ende
d up, ‘This or very little.’”

Even now, Mirenda stated he felt afraid about reopening.

They experienced dropped the momentum received at the commencing of 2020, and they experienced put in a good volume on transforming and payroll when the dining places were shut. Now, they had to reintroduce La Trattoria to the community, hoping diners would return in spite of the ongoing pandemic.

Business enterprise was increase or bust, dictated by surges in constructive caseloads and overall health mandates.

“It occurred, I consider, two occasions or three occasions … from likely up, up, up — increase! — down. From likely up, up — growth! — down once again. And that harm a good deal,” Mirenda reported.

A casualty, at minimum for time being, was The Lounge, which became added seating for La Trattoria’s 21-and-older diners.

Regional substances, deluxe foods

In mid-November, La Trattoria manufactured a couple additional adjustments.

Citing a wish to give back to company and support area farms, the Mirendas overhauled the menu once a lot more, maintaining it reasonably modest but focusing instead on seasonal substances. They also committed to utilizing all local vendors.

Just about every dish nevertheless looks — and tastes — deluxe. Think about a plate filled with paper-slim prosciutto and figs on a ricotta-smeared focaccia drizzled in a fig reduction. Or a creamy pappardelle finished inside of a wheel of cheese and topped with wisps of shaved black truffle.

And it’s all produced as refreshing as probable, from the lamb ragu that Mirenda’s grandmother occasionally will help prepare in the morning ahead of it braises for eight hrs, to the fettuccine, tortellini and other pastas manufactured by hand every single morning.

“We’re selecting high-quality in excess of quantity and we’re deciding upon to be a unique amount cafe,” he said, later on introducing, “We kind of break the barrier for every person. That is what we want to do again [at La Trattoria].”

For instance, the Mirendas in Oct released an a la carte do-it-your self meal kit, rounding out the streamlined, pasta-heavy to-go menu and loved ones food possibilities (buy at LaTrattoriaDiFrancesco.com). In contrast to the other takeout solutions, the Do it yourself kits have to have some fingers-on cooking, these as boiling the fresh pasta for three to 4 minutes and ending it in a sauce. It’s an plan Mirenda mentioned the family members also is discovering as a subscription services.

In truth, the Mirendas are usually looking towards the long run, so you can anticipate a new menu for spring and additional adjustments along the way. One particular point, nevertheless, will never transform: La Trattoria is a relatives affair, rooted deep in custom and a enthusiasm for Italian food items.

“The most important cause why we’re executing it is for the reason that of like,” Mirenda explained. “We’re not executing it because we imagine there is the enterprise. We do it to start with for really like and of course then we will need to consume, far too. But it all starts with the really like.”

La Trattoria di Francesco

1500 S. 1500 East


Hours: 5 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday and 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday

Order takeout, household meals and Do it yourself kits: LaTrattoriaDiFrancesco.com

Stick to Larrisa Beth Turner on Twitter: @belowthewillow