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4. Bambino_credit Jody Horton.jpg Jody Horton
Bambino serves a rotating selection of seafood conservas with chile bomba and preserved lemon butters.

Operators behind Austin’s L’Oca d’Oro open new pizzeria called Bambino

The new Austin spot features a menu of creative pizzas, tinned fish, and cocktails on tap

Adam Orman and Fiore Tedesco, the duo behind popular Italian spot, L’Oca d’Oro, have opened their second concept, Bambino, on March 14 in East Austin. The new restaurant similarly focuses on Italian cuisine, but in a more casual format, serving up an all-day menu of pizza and antipasti, with a dose of ‘80s nostalgia.

Tedesco considers Bambino the grown-up version of his 10-year-old self’s vision for a pizzeria. The restaurant is centered on food and fun, but also represents the culmination of his career in food, which began at his cousin’s bakery in New York as a pre-teen and continued into fine dining.

The menu features a selection of antipasti, including fried Castelvetrano olives, Caesar salad, and roasted beets with pistachio brittle; plus a rotating selection of seafood conservas, aka tinned fish. Pizzas are 13 inches in circumference and include selections like a margherita, cacio e pepe, and the Mi Scusi, which is topped with tomato, mozzarella, smoked scamorza (Italian cow’s milk cheese), parmesan, olive oil, and basil on a sesame seed crust. Desserts range from a frozen affogato to Bambino nachos featuring cinnamon sugar pizza crisps, soft serve ice cream, hot fudge, peanut butter sauce, and Luxardo maraschino cherries.

Beers and wines are available alongside 10 cocktails and two mocktails, with options like a frozen Margarita flavored with ginger and turmeric, a frozen blood orange Negroni, and the Devil in Love, made with limoncello, amaro, prosecco, and mint. 

“Sometimes the simplest ideas are the most complex in conception,” Tedesco said about the menu. “Over the past four years, we have devoted countless hours to crafting the perfect pie, playing with fermentation, hydration, and temperature over the span of 12 recipe iterations before opening our doors.”

He notes that a margherita pizza might seem basic, but bringing to life a combination of long-fermented dough, hand-pulled mozzarella, and bright acidic tomato sauce is a privilege that he doesn’t take lightly.

Bambino was designed by Austin-based Chioco Design LLC, and the interior includes 17 bar seats, tables to accommodate 25 patrons inside, and 60 more seats outside. Guests order at the bar before finding a table, where they can order additional food and drinks via a QR code or through the servers. The restaurant also caters to pick up orders and offers local delivery via DoorDash.

Although pizza tends to translate well across cities and neighborhoods, Bambino’s look, feel and high-low menu were designed specifically for its location. The restaurant is not meant to be a cut-and-paste concept built for scalability.

“We think more about building on the success and influence of Bambino or L’Oca d’Oro, not replicating them,” Orman said.

Aside from good food and service, Tedesco and Orman have built their restaurants on a pillar of employee-first initiatives. Bambino offers $17 per hour starting base pay and adds a 20% pre-tax service charge to all checks, which goes toward providing a living wage for employees. Staff also receive subsidized health benefits and paid sick leave.

We know that we don’t have to change our values around restaurant operations,” Orman said.  “L’Oca d’Oro has shown that we don’t have to make a choice between running a sustainable restaurant and being a stand-up employer by paying a living wage, offering benefits and supporting our team members as people.”

For now, Orman and Tedesco are heads-down on their current projects, but they’re keeping an eye on the future.

“Our focus is to make sure Bambino is great, and that it and L’Oca d’Oro can coexist happily,” Orman sid. “That said, we’re always dreaming of places we’d like to create together.”

TAGS: Chefs
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