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Link Restaurant Group Opens Gianna
Offering Rustic Italian Cuisine Rooted in Louisiana Tradition
NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Award-winning chefs Donald Link, Stephen Stryjewski, Ryan Prewitt, Rebecca Wilcomb and Director of Operations Heather Lolley have announced the opening of Gianna.
Located at the corner of Magazine and Girod streets in the New Orleans Warehouse District, Gianna offers rustic Italian cuisine rooted in Louisiana tradition and technique. “I have respected and admired Rebecca for her food and cooking style for a long time,” states Link. “Gianna was born out of that relationship and desire to bring something unique to New Orleans.”
Chef Rebecca leads the kitchen as executive chef and draws inspiration from the cooking traditions of the homeland of her family, in particular her grandmother Giannina, who, with her extended family, still resides in the Veneto Region of northern Italy. “I am excited to share the foods and culinary traditions from my childhood,” states Wilcomb. “Having traveled Italy as a child and young adult, and extensively over the past few years in preparation for this new project, I am thrilled to open Gianna as a place to enjoy Italian cuisine in a beautiful space right here in the heart of New Orleans.” Long time Link Restaurant Group team member Brandy Trepagnier will join Wilcomb as General Manager.
Gianna offers daily antipasti, house-cured meats, locally farmed produce, Gulf seafood and house-made pastas. “Many of the dishes on the menu were inspired by meals our team has shared together – whether it was in New York or New Orleans or while traveling together throughout Italy,” says Wilcomb. “And by utilizing our local ingredients with Italian recipes and cooking techniques we will pay respect to both Louisiana and Italy.” The menu also features a “Feed Me” option including chef’s choice of antipasti, salad, pasta, entrée and sides. “The ‘Feed Me’ menu provides a fun experience for guests to try dishes they wouldn’t necessarily choose for themselves,” says Wilcomb. The bar program at Gianna is inspired by the Apertivo culture, or the Italian tradition of enjoying a drink with friends while awakening the taste buds. An extensive bar menu will include cocktail bases of Vermouth, Apertivo, and Amari, concocted into refreshing cocktails meant to stimulate the appetite. The wine list consists of mainly Italian selections, including Garganega from the Veneto region, and Falanghina, a white grape variety from Campania in Italy.
While the menu will have a rustic, home-style spirit, the restaurant reflects a modern look within the newly constructed space. General Contractor Jos. R. Labadot and Architect Brooks Graham worked closely with the team to bring this project to fruition. Graham states, “this design is a departure from the Link Restaurant Group style, but it perfectly reflects the food.” Gianna, which is situated on a corner, features a large horseshoe shaped bar in the center of the dining room, with giant windows bringing in natural light. Decorative fabric wall finishes, metal shelving, and zinc topped bar contrast the off-whites and light, warm grey colors throughout the dining room. Commissioned artwork, including an Ashley Pridmore sculpture and a twenty-foot long mural of an octopus, adorns the space. The dining chairs, as well as the floor tile in the dining room and bar, were imported from Italy. The kitchen features Bianco Pesaro stone tops and a matte black mosaic tile clad wood-burning oven. Guests wishing to dine al fresco may enjoy outdoor gallery seating along Girod and Magazine streets.