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“I thought it would have a really unique thing about the
space because it was outdoors, but not so much,” Ji said.
“And at the time, outdoor dining was the thing because of
the pandemic, and then Ahn really liked the idea of turning
the space into a restaurant.”
After Ji helped Ahn with deciding on a restaurant for the
space, he suggested fresh pasta for the menu. They ended
up collaborating with chef Christina Bartoli, who got involved
after she responded to an ad for an experienced chef.
After tasting her dishes, the team decided that Bartoli was
the perfect person to bring on board.
“My friend invited me over when they had their first tasting,”
Ji said. “At the time, I wasn’t even part of the project; I was
just giving advice as a friend. I came along for the tasting and
they absolutely loved the chef, so that’s when I actually got
really excited of what I could do with him, and Ahn told me
he wanted to work with me. I didn’t have a restaurant background,
but that’s something I always wanted to do.”
The team emphasizes fresh ingredients and Bartoli’s evercreative
mind in the kitchen. While some of the dishes are
the typical Italian fare, Bartoli also likes to put new spins
on classics. For example, Cornicello’s baked penni ziti alla
vodka is layered and might look like a lasagna at first glance
— until you sink your fork into it and taste the vodka sauce in
the noticeably fresh pasta.
“Our chef is always in the kitchen trying to come up with
something new,” Ji said. “She always tries to take what we
have in the kitchen and make something so that people
can get really excited for it.”
In addition to amazing entrees, Cornicello also has a pastry
chef on hand who makes fresh and delicious desserts like tiramisu,
ricotta doughnuts and oversized chocolate eclairs that
are scented with orange and vanilla and oozing with cream.
With so many delicious options, it’s certainly worth it to
stop by to see what Bartoli and her partners will come up
“I think her food is unique in a way that’s really homey,” Ji
said. “You kind of get the feel that you’re being fed by your
grandma, but your grandma who knows how to take it and
make it modern.”
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