December 16, 2017
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Café Mezz Team Expands With Capiche Street Food Italiano

Dylan Roche
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October 4, 2017

Anyone with an appetite to eat their way around Italy will be happy to hear that there’s a new option on this side of the Atlantic. Capiche Street Food Italiano is slated to open its doors to guests in mid October — though owners Kosmas Koukoulis and Dave Bremer admitted they might open it a few days sooner — and when guests step inside the Magothy Gateway fast-casual restaurant, they will have the chance to order authentic Italian fare, all made to order with fresh, locally sourced ingredients to be enjoyed in a laid-back, family-friendly atmosphere.

The idea for Capiche was born one evening after closing time at Café Mezzanotte, which Koukoulis has owned and Bremer has managed since 2008. “We were sitting around, talking about the industry, and we were talking about how there are no Italian concepts doing custom quick service,” Koukoulis said.

They decided that they wanted to do for quick-service restaurants what they have been doing for white-tablecloth fine dining at Café Mezzanotte. That meant wholesome Italian food prepared with organic, local, non-GMO proteins and vegetables, but in this case, it would be with an emphasis on foods that pedestrians might be able to buy from a street vendor and eat while walking around Italy.

“The biggest challenge for us is that there really is no blueprint for this,” Koukoulis said. “We’re not modeling ourselves after a concept. Nobody is doing Italian street food. The other challenge was in talking to guests and getting them to understand what this is. Because Mezzanotte is what it is, it’s hard for people to wrap their heads around this being fast, casual and inexpensive.”

At Capiche Street Food Italiano, guests will have the option of ordering a pizza, pasta, a piada (an Italian wrap made with flatbread) or salad, all at a flat rate of $8.50 so, as Koukoulis put it, guests can order what they want to eat, not what they want to pay for. Once they make their selection, guests can walk along the counter and order from an assembly line of different meats, cheeses, vegetables, herbs, sauces and dressings.

In addition to food, Capiche will serve Maine Root craft sodas on draft, featuring traditional flavors such as cola and lemon-lime, as well as unusual selections such as blueberry and black cherry.

As the anticipated opening date draws closer, construction crews have been putting the finishing touches on the artistically designed interior of the restaurant in the newly built Magothy Gateway shopping center. Many of the amenities serve practical purposes — the woodfire pizza stove that cooks a pizza in 90 seconds, or the mix of booths, tables and counter seating to accommodate as many as 60 dine-in guests at a time — while others create the unique atmosphere that Koukoulis and Bremer are striving for, what they describe as a mix of an urban street feel with nods to the fresh farm sources used in the kitchen.

Those who want to follow Capiche’s progress as the opening day gets closer should visit www.capicheitaliano.com or find and like “Capiche Italiano” on Facebook. The expectation is that Capiche will be just as warmly welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed as Café Mezzanotte, and the team will be able to lend its same appreciation of wholesome Italian food to a different style of dining. “We have a great team in place,” Koukoulis observed. “It is time to expand, time to grow.”


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