Reverse-Engineering the Italian Food-Cart Experience at Tutta Bella

The food cart and the food truck have now become facts of our everyday food experience. Like the Internet, the breakfast burrito, or GPS, what used to be big news ("Check it out! Food from a truck!") is now one of those ideas that it seems someone should've thought of years ago.

Except that, in the case of the food truck/cart, someone did. Food trucks and food carts, hawker stands, and roaming snack vendors have been more the norm than the exception in other countries for pretty much ever. And today, much of the debate among mobile grub-slingers is not in what can be served from the side of a converted panel van (because almost anything can be), but from where they take their inspiration. There are noodle trucks and dumpling trucks, classic sandwich trucks and cupcake carts, and still plenty of taco trucks roaming the streets of America's larger cities. Almost every country with a tradition of serving meals on the go has an American analog--some smart cook who decided that the best way to make a buck was to bring gyros, gumbo, hum bow or musubi straight to the people.

But at Tutta Bella, owner Joe Fugere and exec chef Brian Gojdics are looking at going in a slightly different direction, Just recently back from a "Cultural Immersion Trip" to Naples, Italy, they have taken the Italian food-cart experience and turned it into a brick-and-mortar menu.

The new "Aperitivo Italiano" (Italian happy hour) menu is based on their experiences of eating their way through that city's street-food scene. According to Fugere, "Where trend and tradition intersect is a magical place. What I love about our new happy-hour menu is that it embraces simplicity and celebrates the artisan."

The new board will offer little bites of cured meats and bowls of olives, all sorts of little snacks inspired by the street food of Naples--and drinks, of course, for sit-down customer--in an attempt to bring the idea of Italian street food indoors. But the big change is the pizzettes--small versions of the classic, VPN-certified Neapolitan pizzas that Tutta Bella is already known for.

Tutta Bella is running through menu testing on the new board right now. Aperitivo Italiano runs from 3 p.m.-6 p.m. every weekday.

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