Tucked away in Atlanta’s historic Inman Park neighborhood is BoccaLupo, an Italian-American eatery owned by Atlanta-native chef, Bruce Logue. An intimate restaurant, BoccaLupo offers seating for 40 inside and patio dining for 18 guests. Currently focusing on extruded and rolled, hand-cut pastas, Logue and chef de cuisine Ben Clayton are crafting “new” classics.
An undercurrent of chefs has begun to embrace Italian-American “soul food” cookery. Logue and Clayton are melding their grandmothers’ backyard garden sensibilities with classic techniques. The menus resemble something you would find in a home kitchen in the North End of Boston, Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge or Central South Philly. Raised in Atlanta, Logue has always dreamed of opening a place where he grew up. After attending culinary school at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, Logue landed a position in Boston at Bricco, a contemporary Italian restaurant in the city’s Little Italy. Logue moved on to a sous chef position under chef Mario Batali at Babbo, where he stayed until 2005. After Babbo, Logue relocated to the West Coast for a chef de cuisine position at the AAA Four-Diamond Vivace Restaurant at the Four Seasons Aviara in San Diego, Calif. In 2007, Logue spent a year in Italy earning a Master Italian Cooking Certificate from Ital.Cook. Missing home and eager to put into practice his education and experience, Logue returned to Atlanta and opened La Pietra Cucina, where he received four stars from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for his work. Bruce then set his sights on opening an intimate neighborhood restaurant that would feature his hand-cut and extruded pastas.
Logue and Clayton, having worked together for some four years now, created an ambitious menu. BoccaLupo’s menu is divided into sections of antipasti, pasta (fresh and extruded), a smaller entrée section of fish, poultry, and meat plates, and reinterpreted classic Italian desserts. Two of Logue’s favorites from the antipasti portion of the menu are Bruschetta “Banh Mi” 6 Hour Pork, Chicken Liver and Giardineria and Octopus & Mortadella Spiedino with Shell Beans, Spinach and Marsala. Overall there are 11 pasta dishes, all of which are made in-house. One of the most unique dishes is the 20 Yolk Tagliatelle with Wild Mushrooms, Tuscan Kale Kimchee and Butter; unique in the amount of eggs in the recipe and because the dish accompaniments change based on what is fresh at the market. Logue carried over a few signatures from La Pietra Cucina’s menu, including the Black Spaghetti tossed with Calabrese Sausage, Red Shrimp and Scallions. The popularity of the extruded section of the menu left Logue with no other choice than to invest in a new extruder machine from Italy, the Rosito Bisani TR 110. With the TR 110, Logue and Clayton are able to turn out exquisite extruded pastas at a higher consistency and quality level than that of kitchens twice their size. Logue likes to take liberties with the classics: Bucatini all’ Amatriciana is traditionally prepared with jowl or cheeks, but at BoccaLupo it is prepared with smoked bacon, red onion, thick pomodoro and pecorino.
Not content to stand on pasta alone, the kitchen delivers a rotating “not noodles” section of the menu featuring Carolina Middlin Risotto with Mozzarella, Herbs and Cool Summer Broth as well as Duck Spiedino with Broccoli, Rice Gnocchi, Dried Shiitake and Celery Root. Desserts include family heirloom dishes such as Gina D’s Zeppole with Chocolate Budino Sauce and Upside Down Chocolate Tart, Squid Ink Crumbs and Sweet Ricotta.