If Steve Palmer hadn’t already opened three businesses on King Street, I might have to call bullshit on his claim that Indaco, his new Italian restaurant at 526 King, would be open for business in two weeks.
Yesterday afternoon, he gave me a tour of the not-nearly done space, introduced me to his new chef Robert Berry, and laughed when I jokingly asked who he was paying off to make that opening date happen.
But you have to have faith, and Palmer has that in spades. Palmer runs Oak Steakhouse, O-Ku, Cocktail Club, and the Macintosh, but Indaco is his dream restaurant. The guy loves Italian food, and he’s confident the hot-hot-hot Upper King Street district — where $2,500-a-month apartments are going up around the corner at Elan Midtown — will embrace his concept. It’s pretty simple really. Serve excellent Italian fare, keep the total ticket between $35 and $40 bucks per person, and make everyone feel welcome in the casual space, whether they want a snack and a cocktail or a full-blown sit-down dinner.
Indaco was originally supposed to open in March, but the PrimeSouth-owned building had serious structural issues that needed to be addressed — and by addressed, we mean $250,000 worth of steel beams were needed to shore up the place. With those installed, Palmer and crew have been making a mad dash to their hoped-for August opening.
Chef Robert Berry was hired back in February (he previously worked at NYC’s Cookshop and Monumental Lane) and has been biding his time, butchering beef over at Oak Steakhouse while working on the Indaco menu.
He’s got a whole animal approach for Indaco, with a room set aside for butchering. The wood-fired oven will be employed for cooking pizzas along with roasting whole fish and braising meats. The Italian menu will be broken down into 10 appetizers, 6 pasta (including polenta and risotto along with handmade ravioli and various extruded noodles), 6-7 pizzas, plus four mains with some nightly specials thrown in as items become available from their purveyors. Larger groups can opt for the family-style service at $40 per person.
Farmer Bev Eggleston from Eco-Friendly Foods in Virginia will be supplying them with an exclusive 24-month aged American proscuitto.
Bartender Lisa Hartman is being brought over from O-Ku to manage the beverage program, which will feature Italian sodas and four cocktails on tap, including negroni. The wine list will be all Italian with bottles for $75 and less.
Overall, it looks like they’ve got it figured out. They just have to get that punch list done.
Here’s a peek at some of their food as photographed by Andrew Cebulka. Looks tasty.