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Bryan Voltaggio pitches North Market Kitchen

How it's not like Eataly

By Richard Gorelick

The Baltimore Sun

6:00 AM EDT, June 23, 2011

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Bryan Voltaggio filled me in about the big new project he's planning for next year in Frederick. North Market Kitchen, its working title, will place diners in a near-10,000 square-foot market enviroment, with both general dining areas and separate seating in environments given over to charcuterie and salumi, raw bars and fresh pasta.

Voltaggio acknowledged to the Washington's Post Tom Sietsma that the direct inspiration for North Market Kitchen is Eataly New York, the sexy Fifth Avenue food emporium whose motto is "We Sell What We Cook & We Cook What We Sell."

Certainly, as at Eataly, retail will be threaded throughout North Market Kitchen but not in a way, Voltaggio said,  that's "in your face." Instead, diners gathered around the exhibition-style kitchens in the pasta area will be able to walk away with the ingredients they see chefs using to prepare their meal. "There are things that chefs use that aren't out in the marketplace. I want people to really feel like they access to the ingredients that we're using," Voltaggio said.

But there will be a few significant departures at North Market Kitchen from the Eataly model, Voltaggio explained. An Eataly diner can order only from the the menu of whatever substaurant he's seated in, but the entire North Market menu will be available to everyone.

And whereas Eataly, which originated in Italy, curates for its customers the finest imported Italian meats, cheeses and wines, Voltaggio, with his ongoing commitment to local and sustainable and organic foods, will make North Market Kitchen into a showcase for the Chesapeake region in particular and American food in general.

If Eataly has a burnished cosmopolitan look, North Market Kitchen will have a rustic atmosphere, with reclaimed material from nearby.

"There are these three posts at Wickes Lumber on 355, where the trains used to come," Voltaggio said, "which over time have been stripped bare so that they look like three trees. That's the look I want."

No opening date is attached to the project, which will occupy the first floor of the long-abandoned Carmack-Jays grocery store, but the spring of 2012 is the company line so far. "I'd love to have it open before the winter holidays," Voltaggio said. "We're going into a space that's ready to go."

Meanwhile, Voltaggio confirmed what he told the Washington Post, that he'll be opening a 200-seat restaurant at the Chevy Chase Pavilion in 2012.