In a year of transactions in Capitol Hill food and drink, there is another deal and new start in the neighborhood to report.
Brandon Barnato, a longtime part of the Via Tribunali restaurant family, is branching out on his own after acquiring 15th Ave’s Bar Cotto.
“I’m buying the name and the opportunity,” Barnato tells CHS.
The transaction is the second part of a successful exit for Ethan Stowell Restaurants after the company sold neighboring Anchovies and Olives earlier this year. Chinese by way of New York City Plenty of Clouds opened in that space this summer.
The change at Bar Cotto will be even smoother and immediate. Barnato isn’t planning to make any major changes to the concept that has built its own reputation on pizzas and salumi. Barnato, who previously held down the fort behind the bar at Queen’s Anne’s Via Trib, said he plans to add antipasto options and handmade pasta to Bar Cotto’s menu.
He is also upping the grind — Bar Cotto will now be open seven days a week.
The purchase of Bar Cotto joins a handful of sales this year across the Hill. When the final numbers are tallied, there may have been more sales than new locations in the neighborhood in 2018. Quentin Ertel’s sale of The Saint is one recent example. You can also add Tallulah’s (here), Sun Liquor(here), Anchovies and Olives (here), the Baltic Room (here), the Canterbury (here), Quinn’s (here), and Cure (here) to the sales roster.
New Bar Cotto owner Barnato said another part of the draw is to be on the edge of the core of the Capitol Hill with a solid neighborhood of owner-operators. His food+drink neighbors include the new Intrigue Chocolate and Coffee House, Plenty of Clouds, and Shota Nakajima’s rebooted Adana across the street.
Earlier this year, Ethan Stowell told CHS not to read too much into his exit from 15th Ave. “Some restaurants just have a life,” he said. “Our company has changed as well. If something is underperforming, it doesn’t make sense to maintain it. We made the choice to move on.” The package of A&O and Bar Cotto was available for $300,000.
We don’t know what Barnato payed but we know he thinks he got a fair deal. “This is an opportunity, a great buildout for a reasonable price,” he said.
Bar Cotto is located at 1546 15th Ave.
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