Construction at Slab. [Photos: Tom Minervino]
Construction is moving along nicely at Slab, the new project going into the former Portland Public Market building from Stephen Lanzalotta, Jason Loring, Emily Kingsbury, Tobey Moulton and Matt Moran. A mid-May opening is now the target for the hugely anticipated Sicilian street food restaurant that will showcase the talents of Lanzalotta, the former Micucci baker and Sicilian Slab pizza architect. Lanzalotta is heavily involved in the build-out. Last week, he took a few minutes to show Eater the progress and explain the final vision. The black concrete bar will be poured soon. Metal workers will create a faux balcony that will go above the archway opening to the kitchen, behind which will be antique shutters to give the feel of a second-story window. Metal benches with wooden slats and handmade iron lanterns will add to the atmosphere.
Lanzalotta is testing out wall treatments to provide a weathered look, which will be paired with bent metal framing the kitchen and carried through into the dining area. "We want it to feel like an ancient Sicilian courtyard that was bombed out in World War II, then refit and buttressed with iron and resurrected," he says. The precise attention to detail is seen in every element of the design. The various arches (rampant arches in doorways and a baker's arch to the kitchen) have stories behind them. The logo uses a carpenter's square for the "L" because St. Joseph (a carpenter) is regarded by many as the Patron saint of Sicily and Lanzalotta wants to pay homage to the culture. Here's a look at the progress so far (and a menu at the end):