Stay tuned!

italian kitchen austin

We’ll be revealing details about Al Fico, its new chef, its menu, and opening date shortly.

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Al Fico

1700 E 2nd St. Austin, TX 78702 (cross street: Chalmers)

Owners: Jeff Courington and Kelly Bell (founders and owners at Vino Vino)

Food: Authentic and creative Italian cuisine inspired by osteria cooking; traditional dishes and contemporary interpretations of classics; Roman-style wood-fired pizza; 100 percent Italian wine list featuring iconic estates as well as avant-garde winemakers.

Décor: Old-school Italian osteria with tiled floors, white tablecloths, and chandeliers; photographs of Italy and Italians, shot on and printed from analog film by Austin artist Nils Juul-hansen, line the walls.

The name “Al Fico” means literally “by the fig tree.” In the era after WWII, Italian cheese mongers and salumi producers would set up stand in the shade of trees along the road so that they could sell their wares to passing travelers. As Italy rebuilt and the economic outlook improved, many of them opened restaurants in the shadow of those same trees. The name of Jeff Courington and Kelly Bell’s Al Fico is inspired by that tradition and their love of all things Italian.

We have our building permit! June 2013 projected opening

al fico blueprint

We are thrilled to share the news that Al Fico has FINALLY obtained its building permit from the City of Austin. Demolition and construction has officially begun!

al fico building

The building at the corner of East 2nd and Chalmers was originally built as a chapel and later became a soup kitchen after World War II.

Until recently, it’s been an office complex.

al fico table

We’ll be documenting our build-out here on the Al Fico blog as we transform this historic Austin building into the authentic Italian trattoria of our dreams!

We hope to be open by June 2013…

Stay tuned…

Jeff’s wine pick: Gavi (Cortese) from Piedmont

The northwest Italian region of Piedmont (meaning the foot of the mountains) is generally known for its red wines: Barbera and Dolcetto, Barbaresco and Barolo…

But they also grow and raise some excellent white wines there.

When it comes to Italian white wines in general, owner and wine director at Vino Vino Jeff Courington always seems to be reaching for one of his personal favorites: Gavi (appellation) made from Cortese (grape variety).

The Cortese grape is all about freshness and bright acidity. The village of Gavi where this wine is grown is located about halfway from the upper Mediterranean sea and the foothills of the Alps. As a result, it enjoys cool air coming down from the mountains heading toward the sea. The cool air helps to keep the vineyards ventilated (thus preventing rot and mildew) and it keeps the fruit cool at night during the summer as the berries reach complete ripening.

Palladino is an OLD SCHOOL producer: no spoof here! Classic, clean, crisp Gavi, ideal for seafood and spicier dishes…

Currently featured by the glass at Vino Vino.

what does al fico mean?

Stay tuned!

We’ll be revealing details about Al Fico, its new chef, its menu, and opening date shortly.

Please click here
to sign up for our
email newsletter.

Click here for
media inquiries.

The word fico (pronounced FEE-koh) means both fig and fig tree.

And al (pronounced AHL) means at the.

In Italian, the expression al fico means at the fig tree, as in the expression I’ll meet you at the fig tree.

Many, many years ago, when Italian salumi and cheese makers wanted to sell their wares to travelers and passers by, they would set up a stand along the road. Wanting to keep their foods fresh and cool, they would seek the shade of a tree.

And what better tree than the fig tree, with its dense branches and broad leaves, to provide the ideal shelter for the roadside salumi and cheese stand?

Somewhere along the way, a fig dropped to the ground and found itself accompanied by a slice of crumbly sheep’s milk cheese. And thus one of humankind’s greatest discoveries was made: ripe figs and cheese.

In the years that came to pass, a few of those salumi and cheese vendors were struck with a brilliant idea: instead of setting up roadside shops, why don’t we open a restaurant along the road? That way, people can stop and enjoy an entire meal as they rest from their travels.

And thus, the Italian osteria (OHS-teh-REE-ah) or trattoria (TRAH-toh-REE-ah) was born — in the shade of a fig tree (or perhaps a pear tree or an olive tree).

Today in Italy, you still find scores of restaurants called osteria al fico, osteria all’ulivo (tavern at the olive tree), ristorante al pero (restaurant at the pear tree), a homage to the way things were in a slower time and a slower age.

Here at Al Fico, Austin, there’s nothing more satisfying to us that a plate of crumbly cow’s and sheep’s milk cheeses paired with freshly picked seasonal figs. That’s why we decided to call our restaurant Al Fico.

Buon appetito!

Jeff’s Amazing Voyage to Italy: Trattoria Masenini, Verona (Chapter 3)

Photos by Linda Ryan.

Dinner at Trattoria Masenini in the heart of Verona is always an unforgettable experience.

Classic pumpkin- and amaretti-filled ravioli, a seasonal mainstay of northern Italian cuisine.

Gnocchi topped with shaved black truffles.

“Torta della Nonna,” grandma’s cake…

Did you know that in Italy they don’t call it Italian food? They JUST CALL IT FOOD! :)