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Pasta wars heat up in Sydney suburb

Summer Hill will soon have a third Italian restaurant in the village, joining Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vincis. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.
The Ormeggio at The Spit team is opening a new restaurant in Summer Hill, Sydney. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.

A Sydney suburb will soon have its third Italian restaurant in less than 200 metres.

Summer Hill, a suburb in Sydney’s inner west, boasts a small, village community that comes to a head on Lackey St, which is lined with bars, restaurants and a patisserie.

There are two Thai restaurants across from one another, two cocktail bars sitting side-by-side, and two Italian restaurants – Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vinci’s – next door to each other.

Summer Hill will soon have a third Italian restaurant in the village, joining Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vincis. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.
Two Italian restaurants, Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vinci’s, are next door to one another in Summer Hill. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.

And a third Italian restaurant is slated to open in just months, less than 200m away from the two existing restaurants.

The team behind Ormeggio at The Spit is opening Postino Osteria and promises diners a classic Italian neighbourhood experience.

Postino is a play on words, meaning both “postman” and “small but cozy place”.

Chef and restaurateur Alessandro Pavoni said the restaurant would offer a “simple, authentic and delicious menu of snacks and specials” with “traditional Italian recipes” and a “carefully curated cellar to complement it all”.

Alessandro Pavoni has teamed up with restauranteur Bill Drakopoulos to open a new Italian restaurant , Postino Osteria, in Summer Hill mid-2024. Picture: Supplied.
Alessandro Pavoni has teamed up with restaurateur Bill Drakopoulos to open a new Italian restaurant, Postino Osteria, in Summer Hill in mid-2024. Picture: Supplied

The Osteria will take over the old post office building on the corner of Moonbie and Smith streets once occupied by award winning restaurant One Penny Red.

Owner of Andiamo and Da Vinci’s Joe Rechichi said he was surprised to hear the Ormeggio team would be opening an Italian restaurant just up the road from his own two venues.

“I just can’t understand the casual Italian dining (argument), thinking that there’s nothing in the Summer Hill precinct when there’s already two venues. I don’t understand the rationale,” Mr Rechichi said.

ITALIAN RESTAURANT WARS
Joe Rechichi, owner of Da Vinci's Italian Restaurant and Andiamo Trattoria in Summer Hill, said he was surprised another Italian restaurant would be opening in the village. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Monique Harmer

He said the area, already being quite concentrated, could have benefited from a fine dining restaurant or cuisines that the area lacked, such as Greek or Mexican.

However, Mr Pavoni confirmed that the restaurant would also be a wine bar and would not offer pizza.

“It’s a place where you can stop for a vino on your way home from work, celebrate with friends and family when you deserve celebrating, come for dinner and know you’ll be looked after by a maitre’d who knows your favourite aperitivo and goes from there,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful building and one we cannot wait to bring back to life.”

Mr Pavoni added he was excited that Summer Hill was becoming a “food destination”.

Despite his surprise, Mr Rechichi said he was no stranger to friendly competition.

Before he took over Da Vinci’s just before Covid, he was running Andiamo Trattoria next door to a competitor.

“We got on. You don’t look to have enemies anywhere … It was friendly competition,” he said. “We knew our strengths and they knew theirs.”

When he took over Da Vinci’s, Mr Rechichi transformed the place and now offers an experience that’s a step above the Trattoria, which he opened in 2011.

“We have always wanted to reimagine (Da Vinci’s) because there’s no use having the pizza restaurant side-by-side,” Mr Rechichi said.

ITALIAN RESTAURANT WARS
Andiamo Trattoria has been open in Summer Hill since 2011, with owner Joe Rechichi taking over Da Vinci’s just before Covid. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Monique Harmer

“They are different offerings in the sense that, as I say, this is Trattoria, the other one’s restaurante, which means it’s a higher level.”

Da Vinci’s boasts a charcoal grill with handmade pastas and prime view of the Piazza, which features a beautiful fountain that takes you to Europe as you sip on an Aperol Spritz with a pizza in hand.

Andiamo is your familiar Trattoria, offering a family experience with popular and familiar dishes.

Mr Rechichi praised the Summer Hill community, saying the residents “just want to see good things happening at all times” and are “very supportive” of local businesses.

Residents have shared their thoughts on social media, with a fairly even split of excitement for the new restaurant and the need for more variety in the area.

Summer Hill will soon have a third Italian restaurant in the village, joining Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vincis. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.
The new Postino Osteria will not offer pizza, unlike Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vinci’s. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook
Summer Hill will soon have a third Italian restaurant in the village, joining Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vincis. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.
Da Vinci’s offers Italian cuisine of a ‘higher level’ than Andiamo Trattoria. Picture: Da Vincis, Facebook

Summer Hill local Julie Manning had a positive outlook and said she was hoping for something to replace One Penny Red.

“If it was really similar to those two restaurants I’d say ‘Eh, the town planner should’ve said hey, no’, but I think as an osteria it’s going to have a different vibe,” she said.

“I think it’ll be more like a bar and I think it’s going to have more of a feel of that you’re not going there for a family restaurant, you’re going down for a drink before maybe shooting off to the city.

“We all loved One Penny Red, it was an establishment, it was a fantastic place and we’re hoping for something nice that’ll replace it.”

When it comes to Mr Rechichi, he said he respected the Ormeggio team.

“They’re very, very good in what they do,” he said.

“Them coming in, I think it’s going to be wonderful for PR … it’s good for the Summer Hill village, you’re going to have people coming in from all over the catchment, not just Summer Hill.

“They’ll come in thinking ‘We’ll see if there’s something available’. If there’s nothing available, they’ll walk the streets and go ‘Oh, this is really cool’.”

Summer Hill will soon have a third Italian restaurant in the village, joining Andiamo Trattoria and Da Vincis. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.
Despite being surprised, Mr Rechichi is looking forward to Postino Osteria bringing new people and customers into the Summer Hill village. Picture: Andiamo Trattoria, Facebook.

Mr Pavoni added that while the hospitality industry was in “friendly competition with each other” they all respected one another and “have so much empathy for what we are all achieving in our own venues”.

“Referring specifically to Joe in Summer Hill’s Italian restaurants, he is such a well-known stalwart of the area as well as being so engaged in the community. I’m sure we will be friendly neighbours!” he said.

The decision to open a new restaurant in Summer Hill came after the closure of One Penny Red.

“Our very good friend Nina Alidenes ran One Penny Red for years, and we always greatly admired her and loved what she was doing there. When there was an opportunity to snap up the building and do something in the area we jumped at it,” Mr Pavoni said.

“It will be cozy and warm in both interior and service, intimate yet buzzy!”