“It just keeps morphing into the dream,” Eduardo Rovetto, owner of Piecasso Pizzeria and Lounge on Mountain Road in Stowe, shouts over the din of power tools. “I’m really excited — I finally feel like it’s complete.”
An expanded, contemporary bar, new seating and an artfully sculpted front entrance now greet visitors to the Stowe restaurant.
This week, Rovetto and his team were sanding out the final touches.
“It’s really rolling along,” he said.
In 2006, after six years of spinning his unique brand of pie in a storefront that is now Stowe Dogs, Rovetto moved his hip, artsy pizza shop across the street into its current location, formerly Grill 108.
It was a big step, but “it just wasn’t my space yet,” he said.
For one thing, the building had been designed for a different restaurant, and despite overhauling it in a Mediterranean-inspired, Picasso-centric motif, it wasn’t ideal, he said. Parking flow was an issue, and the bar was getting cramped.
In 2009, despite a dour economy, Rovetto began piecing together his perfect Piecasso.
“Talk about a leap of faith — we threw everything on the line,” he said.
The restaurant made changes in the kitchen, bathroom and bar area, but the real push kicked off this April.
A restyled main entrance faces north up Mountain Road; it features a flowing stone patio, hemlock beams and spruce siding.
Inside, a revamped adult lounge and kids’ area are cozily tucked to the left.
The centerpiece of the expansion has to be the flowing, curvaceous new bar, a stylishly contemporary stage for Piecasso’s expanded drink menu.
“We’re just focusing on more artisan everything — artisan drinks, more microbrews — just quality drinks,” he said.
Framed by a Mediterranean orange and tan ceiling and illuminated by large windows, the bar snakes along the contours of a nearby wall, with orange lights highlighting an etched metal finish.
“It looks amazing at night,” Rovetto said.
The redesigned restaurant now has a capacity of more than 150 people, up from 138. That’s not a big jump, he said, but now a lot of people can sit inside the building year-round. Before, some of the seating was outdoors, and highly subject to weather issues.
Although it’s navigating the same troubled economic waters as every business these days, Rovetto said Piecasso has made its mark with good food, good staff and energy. Tapping more of that energy, he said, is key to the expansion.
“People feel immediately drawn to energy,” he said. “You can have a good product and a great staff, but if it doesn’t have the energy, if you walk into a place and it’s dark and cold and not decorated well, people aren’t going to stay. We’re going for more of a fun atmosphere.”
Rovetto spread the credit for Piecasso’s success.
“I’ve had an incredible staff, starting from when I set up across the street,” he said. “If it wasn’t for all of the people along the way, the friends, the family who supported me — it’s been a team effort all around. I couldn’t have done it alone. We’ve also been fortunate to have a really supportive community in Stowe.”
Rovetto also thanked Paul Rousselle, the architect on the project, as well as Gristmill Builders and Ambler Design, who installed the stonework.
Today, July 12, Piecasso his hosting a grand-opening celebration, with music by local country band Lesley Grant and Stepstone, and blues-rockers The Eames Brothers. It kicks off at 6 p.m.
Piecasso is looking for local artisans, especially those who work in metal and other sculpture materials, to feature in the new restaurant. Information: firstname.lastname@example.org.