Goodbye il Mercato, hello La Frasca

A new project for The Bertossi group brings a fresh face, and a new hang out, to Spring Garden

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La Frasca: the product of an exciting shuffle on Spring Garden.
  • La Frasca: the product of an exciting shuffle on Spring Garden.

Stephanie Bertossi says she's "still crazy after all these years." That's part of the explanation behind the decision to close The Bertossi Group's 19-year-old Spring Garden Road eatery il Mercato Trattoria and open a brand new restaurant in the space just over a month later. “With all of the changes on Spring Garden,” she says, “it needs a fresh face.”

The new spot, which Bertossi says will be eclectic, vibrant and loaded with custom-designed decor, will be named La Frasca Cibi & Vini, taking inspiration from her husband and business partner Maurizio’s Italian roots. A frasca is a social custom in Friuli—Maurizio’s home province in Italy— that Bertossi calls “the original pop-up bar”, where families hang a tree branch near the road, inviting passersby in for “great wine, great food, conversation, cards and music.” With a casual vibe and a massive bar, La Frasca will encapsulate the tradition and boast a plentiful menu of imported wines, classic cocktails and flavourful Friulano food. “Every time we build I say ‘this is the best one yet,’” says Bertossi of the ambitious project. “We’ve done it so many times we’re getting really good at it.”

While the downtown il Mercato will serve it’s last meals on April 13, its Bedford location (1595 Beford Highway, Sunnyside Mall) will keep on keeping on, incase you’re prematurely mourning the loss of your favourite dish. “Both Maurizio and I love doing business in Halifax, and love being able to constantly do new things. It’s really important in the industry to be fresh,” says Bertossi. “Halifax loves new, but they love what they love, too.”

La Frasca is set to open its doors, and arms, on May 21 and the Bertossis will be blogging the restaurant's progress starting April 15 at lafrasca.ca (that site won't be live until next week). “I think we're really going to see a big difference on Spring Garden,” says Bertossi. “This next evolution of the street is going to be really exciting.”

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