It’s only fitting that the newest concept from the Moffet Restaurant Group featuring seasonal Italian fare would open its doors inside Charlotte’s only Tuscan Revival Style villa. Although, Bruce Moffet might say it was the other way around. When he first walked into the Reynolds-Gourmajenko house discreetly tucked off Providence Road, he knew it “had to be Italian.” The historic villa, erected in the 1920’s, is the only building of its kind in Mecklenburg County and one of two in the state of North Carolina designed by noted architect, William L. Bottomley. Its history is honored inside Moffet’s modern Italian concept, Stagioni.
Diners enter Stagioni and step immediately into the dimly lit bar area, a cavernous space offering a lovely selection of aperitifs including prosecco on tap. Luminous red bar lamps line the petite bar top which, upon closer inspection, are vintage glass bottles illuminated. Behind the bar, books line the top shelf, paying homage to Blanche Reynolds, the aristocratic former lady of the house. Guests can pay tribute by ordering “The Blanche,” a cocktail of Aperol, Cardinal gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, ginger beer and egg white.
The intimate dining room is alight with activity. A red leather banquette summons the gilded age of Goodfellas while the herringbone floor and canvassed photo display overhead invoke an impressive fusion of modernity and thoughtful reverence to the building’s history and former residents. Execuitve Chef Larry Schreiber mans the open kitchen and blazing wood-fire oven which serves up sophisticated pizzas including the brussels sprouts pizza topped with verdant leaves of crisped bitter brussels paired with salty pancetta, sweet parsnip puree and mozzarella cheese.
The menu is substantial with selections divided into an array of snacks (sputini), house made spreads (Per il Pane), cheese and charcuterie (Affetati), small plates (Antipasto), pasta dishes (Primi), entrees (Secondi) and sides (Contorni). Start with a smattering of snacks, particularly the zesty fried chickpeas and bright umami packed salad of ribboned radicchio, white anchovies and capers dressed in lemon juice and olive oil. All pastas are made in-house and incorporated with care into dishes like the savory fettucine with wild boar ragu. Delicate noodles are the perfect canvas for a peppery ragu, softened with diced parsnips and carrots and fall apart pieces of wild boar. Save room for shareable sides, like the kicky rapini and earthy mushrooms and end the night with ethereal pillows of zeppoli with salted caramel ice cream.
How appropriate then that Stagioni means ‘seasons’ in Italian because we can’t wait to see what blooms next.