Per Noi, a beloved Italian restaurant in Salt Lake City’s Highland Park neighborhood, is moving south.
Chef and owner Francesco Montino, along with business partner Tony Casella, decided to move the popular trattoria from its original spot at 1588 Stratford Ave. to a larger place at 3005 S. Highland Drive, once home to Michelangelo Ristorante.
The last day of business on Stratford will be Wednesday, Feb. 28 — almost six years to the day it opened Feb. 29, 2012.
The new location will open the next day, said Casella, who is navigating the move without Montino, who recently broke his hip and underwent surgery.
“He’s going to be in a wheelchair for a couple months,” Casella said during a telephone interview. “But we have a faithful staff, some who have been here six years, so we feel comfortable opening.”
After Michelangelo closed, the building was home to the short-lived Castellemare; the former owners still operate Michelangelo’s on Main in downtown Salt Lake.
Montino and Casella bought the building months ago, but with no clear plans on what they might do. When their current landlord said he was raising the rent, moving was the obvious option.
“We needed a bigger location,” Casella added, “especially in winter, because some customers don’t want to sit next to the door or near the bathroom.”
At the new location, loyal customers will still be able to enjoy their favorite items, from the gnocchi to the pollo Marsala. But the larger kitchen allows for an expanded menu. Look for items from the wood-fired oven and some original Michelangelo favorites. Before opening Per Noi, Montino worked at Michelangelo for two years and knows many of the recipes.
The additional space also will allow staff to prepare salads and desserts tableside for customers who may like that Italian trattoria experience.
While some customers may miss the quaint original, which seated about 50, the new location allows for 125 customers and, when the weather permits, more seating on an outdoor patio.
Michelangelo’s signature Vespa also will remain in the restaurant. But the scooter is gaining an Italian companion — a full-size black Fiat 500 Abarth with a red interior. Both will be inside the restaurant, said Casella. “It’s awesome. You need to come see it.”
If history holds, Salt Lake City diners will be there in droves.
Per Noi Trattoria • 3005 S. Highland Drive, Salt Lake City (beginning March 1). Open Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; and Saturday, 4 to 10 p.m.