As part of its grand makeover, the Centrum Building is adding an Italian restaurant called Mille Lire, from Italian chef Giuliano Matarese and his business partner Brian Ellard. The restaurant will open in the corner of the building facing Cedar Springs Road and Welborn Street that was previously home to such ill-fated concepts as Bengal Coast and Manuel's Creative Cuisine. It'll open in November.
Mille Lire will join the joint Pints & Quarts and Mudsmith, a new combination concept from Dallas restaurateur Brooke Humphries, that is also opening in the Centrum. The building is getting a major renovation from new owner Quadrant Investment Properties, which is sinking more than $20 million in upgrades, including street-side parking and a friendlier entry.
Giuliano Matarese has achieved some fame from appearing on cooking shows Chopped and Beat Bobby Flay. A native of Naples, he worked at his grandmother's restaurant before moving to New York at age 21. His experience there ranged from visible restaurants such as Charlie Palmer's Aureole, where he worked under mentor and chef Dante Boccuzzi, to smaller places like the Italian trattoria Arte Café. He also did time in Florida, including a well-regarded stint at a restaurant called Sale E Pepe.
Named for Italy's former currency (the Lira) before the Euro came along, Mille Lire will features a "neoclassic" menu with dishes that maintain the integrity of authentic Italian cuisine, but with global influences. The evolving menu will rotate seasonally and incorporate Italian-sourced ingredients like olive oils and cheeses, as well as local produce, meats and more.
A Neapolitan pizza oven and a pasta-making machine have been imported from Italy. A U-shaped full bar will serve craft cocktails and an assortment of wines from various regions.
Decor utilizes an earth-color scheme with shades of orange, brown, and grays. Outlines of the Lira are reflected in custom cement tiles and upholstered banquette seating. A floor-to-ceiling moss wall and custom wine cellar will serve as focal points. The kitchen is partially-open, affording a "glimpse" rather than a full view. An indoor patio features floor-to-ceiling windows, a custom-built skylight, and a live olive tree.
Mille Lire will be open for lunch and dinner daily. A happy hour menu will feature classic drinks and small bites, and there'll be a weekend Italian-style brunch, complete with a prosecco bar. Those last two words are like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.