Last summer, the west metro’s beloved Campiello celebrated 20 years and did so by gifting itself a makeover. Both dishes and décor got spruced up in honor of the occasion, and we spoke to general manager Ann Grant and chef Ben Perhai to get behind the scenes.
The menus have been almost completely revamped. “We kept all of our classics that people love—our short ribs and chicken penne—but we put out a lot of new items, as well,” Perhai says. “We focus heavily on our pastas here, so our pasta menu got even bigger.”
While the pasta selection grew, the pizza selection doubled. White or red sauce, small or large pizzas with options such as sopressata, tomato basil passata, mozzarella and oregano on red sauce, or mushroom, truffle pecorino and chives on white sauce.
The selection of smaller pizzas goes along with the selection of smaller plates, particularly on the happy hour menu. Come in Monday to Friday from 2-6 p.m., and you’ll be able to order smaller sizes of dishes that are on the regular menu, which gives an opportunity to taste a bit more of Italy than normal.
On the lighter side, the lunch menu got a little more, well, lunchy. Entrée salads, smaller plates and sandwiches are in abundance. And as spring approaches, keep in mind “we try to get as much local produce as possible,” Perhai says. Because of that, the menus change a few times a year to reflect available produce, so as March comes to a close, stay tuned for spring menus.
If all this talk of smaller plates is leaving you hungry, fear not, as the entrée menu is robust as ever. “We have a $49 osso bucco entrée, which is a veal shank with saffron risotto, so we’re kind of giving them the whole gamut from our menu,” he says.
And with that osso bucco you’re going to want a drink. The wine menu at Campiello is one of the few areas that was left untouched, but the beer and cocktails have been elevated. The new keg system helps pour the coldest beer possible, Grant says. And the 12 taps are almost all local all the time. “We’re really playing with all the local brews throughout Minnesota,” she says. They use half kegs, so they’re able to rotate more often, and they have a texting program for beer aficionados. “Whenever we have a new keg, we text out ‘New Keg Alert’ and give them the new keg that’s happening,” she says. And don’t worry about extra promotional texts—that system is only used for kegs. “We’re not bombarding them for anything else,” she says.
Cocktails went through training down in Naples, Fla., or rather, bar manager Jean Beilarz went down there to work with beverage director Ross Kupitz to plan the new signature cocktail menu, Grant says. Previous favorites remain, but new favorites complete coverage of all main spirits: bourbon, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey.
So raise a glass, and cheers to 20 years and counting.
Decor Reads Current While Paying Homage to Restaurant’s History
Walking into Campiello, you’ll notice the décor changes pretty quickly, but you’ll also see some traces of the old. General manager Ann Grant says she likes to joke: “It’s kind of a facelift.” But the genius behind it is all owner Richard D’Amico, she says. He’s the designer behind all the D’Amico restaurants, and “he just has this touch,” she says.
Flooring went from slate gray to terra cotta with marbling (“It took the construction people a long time to do,” Grant says.), the high top tables have barn wood topping, and the kitchen stands out with bold red tile around the wood-fired pizza oven. These are just a few of the changes you might notice that, overall, modernize the look yet stay within the rustic-Italian vibe.
One small change that made a huge difference: The dark curtains have been removed. “It just changes everything,” Grant says. “It brings the outside in,” and allows diners to see the magnificent sunsets out the west windows.
While every area was redone, “we left the faux painting on some of the areas,” Grant says. “It was incredibly creative of [Richard D’Amico] to leave it as an homage to the 20-year history and the success of the restaurant, and I think it’s made people feel comfortable, too.”
An Irish Twist
St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, March 17. If you’re looking for something to do that doesn’t involve green beer and steamed cabbage, head over to Campiello for Date Night.
Three courses: Primi, Secondi and Dolce for $55. Plus: It’s half-off bottled wine.