Lines snake out from Artichoke Basille's Pizza into the wee hours on East 14th Street, and partner Francis Garcia tells Feast that the west side annex should be built out to handle even more crowds by summer. “We just finalized all our plans. The contractor says six weeks, so I’m thinking it will be eight,” says Garcia.
Once completed, Artichoke West will span two spaces. The former home of Red Rock will be a 110-seat restaurant with communal tables and a bar area that fits 12. The slice joint is separate, and wisely positioned next to 1OAK. Woozy club runoff can expect a similar menu of pizzas topped with artichoke dips, and Sicilian pies, but the added space will allow Garcia and his partner-cousin Sal Basille to reintroduce cult recipes they’ve shelved in the face of the eastside crush; Garcia predicts about six appetizer options per night. Among the additions: David Chang-endorsed cauliflower fritters, artichoke fritters, the bean soup pasta fazool, and broccoli rabe. The partners’ Coney Island-themed dessert shop, Led Zeppole, will share some sugar as well in the form of cannoli, and a sweet, chilled artichoke stuffed with cannoli cream that also got pulled from its original home due to crowds.
While the crew couldn’t haggle a full liquor license, a rumored specialty beer will in fact be flowing in addition to Coors, Heineken, and Bud. “There is an artichoke beer we’ve been working on. I make it with an artichoke liquor, Cynar, and Coors Light. We’re working with a brewery to make it for us, Five points, Brooklyn brewery, or one in Pittsburgh,” Garcia tells us. The vegetal brew may or may not be ready for this opening, but it should be set for a slew of Artichoke’s to come. "We’re swinging for the fences; we’re trying to open as many as five in the next three years. The next reveal will be in Manhattan, but they’re also looking at other cities, including downtown Vegas, as opposed to the four-star sector. “The old Las Vegas. Hardly any competition down there. You’ve got tons of people who are more of a pizza-eating crowd,” he says. Sounds like a great part of town.