Appetizers

Piccola Citta to replace Trick Pony

The Trick Pony, at the corner of 21st and S streets in midtown Sacramento, is now closed, but not for long. Its owners are in the process of rebranding the neighborhood restaurant as Piccola Citta, to open in early May.
The Trick Pony, at the corner of 21st and S streets in midtown Sacramento, is now closed, but not for long. Its owners are in the process of rebranding the neighborhood restaurant as Piccola Citta, to open in early May. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Exit Trick Pony, enter Piccola Citta. But the artisan pizza is expected to stick around.

The midtown Sacramento neighborhood restaurant at the corner of 21st and S streets is about to get another makeover, according to operators Matt Chong and Chris Jarosz. On Saturday, the restaurateurs announced on Facebook that Trick Pony had closed “for rebranding and remodeling.”

By the first week of May, they hope to unveil Piccola Citta, Italian for “Little City.”

“The concept will grow into an osteria-inspired, rustic Italian restaurant,” the posting said. “The menu will still include wood-fired pizza, but will expand to include dishes inspired by rustic, countryside fare ... made with ingredients local to Sacramento. The restaurant will also feature a heavy focus on Italian wines.”

A staple of Italian dining for centuries, an osteria is a neighborhood wine and food bar with an emphasis on good yet simple local dishes.

Since its June 2014 opening, Trick Pony has been all about the pizza and that also will be part of Piccola Citta’s new mix, say the owners.

“However, over the past few months, it was soon realized that the pizza-centric concept was too limiting, and the location proved to be in demand for a menu beyond the Trick Pony concept,” they said.

Jarosz and Chong will remain as principal operators at Piccola Citta, along with the current investment group, which includes Mark Casale and Bobby Coyote from Dos Coyotes, and David Richter representing the Sam Gordon family of Sam’s Hof Brau fame.

“This is going to be exciting!” posted Richter. “I am looking forward to the new concept and name.”

Trick Pony had opened with high expectations; a former partner boasted that it would “raise the bar a little bit” for local pizza. The 60-seat neighborhood restaurant took the place of Tuli Bistro, which had its own devoted following thanks to chef Adam Pechal. Tuli abruptly closed in February 2014 after Pechal’s other eatery, the upscale Restaurant Thir13en, had financial difficulties and closed that January.

Chong and Jarosz, best known for their success with Broderick Roadhouse in West Sacramento, took the reins of Trick Pony (as well as sister restaurant Capital Dime) after the pizza place got off to a somewhat rocky start. With manager Andrea Vedovato, the new team elevated Trick Pony’s food and overall appeal.

During this latest makeover, the owners pledged to keep their staff intact. “Employees will be transferred to other properties during the rebrand,” they said on Facebook. They also noted that Piccola Citta will honor Trick Pony gift certificates.

Call The Bee’s Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.

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