“What people do with food is an act that reveals how they construe the world” – Marcella Hazan, renowned Italian-born cookbook author.
An old world-inspired establishment, Caffè La Tana is styled after the Italian alimentari: a small, neighbourhood gathering place serving pastries and simple meals; brewing strong, Italian-style espresso; and stocking locally sourced organic produce; fresh house made pasta; and the finest imported Italian meats, cheeses and dry goods.
“With La Tana, we’re welcoming the neighbourhood further into our kitchens,” says Co-owner Paul Grunberg. “We want to share not only the bounty of our pantry, but also the long-term relationships we have developed with suppliers and farmers.”
In addition to groceries and coffee, central to the La Tana kitchen is the exposed Pasta Fresca table where fresh pastas — hand-cut everyday egg noodles, special seasonal stuffed pasta, and lesser known, harder-to-find shapes like trofie, tajarin, and orecchiette — will be made on the premises daily and will be available uncooked for purchase as well as prepared in-house for lunch. In addition to plates of pasta, small meals such as ‘eggs in purgatory’, panettone french toast, and bombolini with vanilla cream; veal tonnato, prosciutto & mortadella stuffed gnocco fritto and a porchetta sandwich, will be available throughout the day.
“Eating in Italy is essentially a family art, practiced for and by the family. The finest accomplishments of the home cook are not reserved like the good silver and china for special occasions or for impressing guests, but are offered daily for the pleasure and happiness of the family group” – Marcella Hazan.
With family and home cooking in mind, owners Paul Grunberg, Mark Perrier, and Craig Stanghetta intend to bring the ease and service of Pepino’s and Savio Volpe into the homes of its customers. One of Vancouver’s premier restaurateurs, Grunberg has opened and run some of the city’s top dining experiences, including Chambar, Market by Jean-Georges at the Shangri-La Hotel, and Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie. Perrier is known for his ability to elevate rustic, elemental ingredients and his voracious appetite for knowledge; with La Tana, Perrier extends his fervor for great food to a daytime audience. Combined with Stanghetta’s signature penchant for creating spaces that invite and inspire, the trio set their sights on creating an everyday experience that would invite visitors to enjoy a moment of carefree ease, and to give guests a chance to bring that feeling into their own homes.
Bedecked with deep green marble, antique shelving and custom woodwork, classic tiled flooring, and tailor-made, hand-drawn wallpaper, the La Tana space, designed by Stanghetta’s studio, Ste. Marie, evokes Italy’s elegance as influenced by Stanghetta’s trademark eye for the unexpected.
“We endeavoured for La Tana to be two things: elegant and effortless,” says Stanghetta, “a physical manifestation of the Italians’ age-old gift of making art out of life. Selfishly, I wanted a place that would bring me back to my favourite memories of travelling in Italy with my family and happening upon a tiny hole in the wall that turns out to be warm, welcoming and special. If we can bring a bit of that to our corner of east Van we’ll be happy.”
La Tana will be run by General Manager Nathaly Nairn, a hospitality veteran and entrepreneur with ten years experience in the industry. The coffee program will be overseen by Shahnee Zaver (formerly of Dalina, 49th Parallel) who, in concert with local coffee producers, has developed a signature “approachable blend emphasizing richness, with caramel and chocolate notes,” explains Zaver.
Looking ahead, La Tana will host evening events centred around Italian wines and cicchetti. Starting October 9, La Tana will be open from 7:00am to 7:00pm and is located at 635 Commercial Drive. For more information, visit Caffelatana.ca.