The owners of Madison Social are once again blessing College Town, but this time with their new Italian Parlor and eatery- Centrale. Inspired by their New York roots and Italian upbringing, Centrale’s modern twist on classic Italian tradition guarantees it will be your new favorite spot
Visually, the restaurant features a combination of fresh white tile, elegant hardwood, live greenery, and glimpses of gold and black accents. The airy space offers a diverse experience for diners. Along with traditional dinner seating, the back wall of the restaurant features an open-air pizza bar. Here you can sit and watch chefs pull fresh hot (square?!) pizzas out of brick ovens and serve them to you. Let’s not forget the full bar inside, which also includes windows to the patio so patrons can order from the outside.
In fact, the general manager of Centrale, Jeremy Fowler, is a level two sommelier. Not only does he oversee the restaurant's wine selection, he will also personally host wine tastings at the somme bar.
On the back patio, you can find the restaurant's very own Bocce ball court. While a popular modern pastime, bocce ball originates as a traditional European game involving two teams, eight balls, and a target ball. The game dates way back, (ancient Romans played it!) and brings with it centuries of good times.
Additionally, Centrale’s apertivos (Italian for "small bite",) are individual, bite-sized dishes servers bring to every guest at the beginning of their Centrale experience. Not meant to replace appetizers, think of apertivos as a small welcoming gift, or- as the owners refer to it- a “hug from your Italian grandmother”. The bites themselves are always different, so every visit to Centrale will bring a new surprise with each miniature welcome the chef cooks up.
Just like the atmosphere, the menu contains fresh new items based in Italian roots. For an appetizer, do not miss the Olives Fritti. Inspired by the classic Italian dish fried olives, Olives Fritti contains garlic stuffed olives wrapped in sausage with a basil aioli dipping sauce.
For the main course, try Centrale’s signature Porchetta. This dish is a true labor of love, consisting of an herb-rubbed pork loin wrapped with pork belly and then baked for five tantalizing hours. This results in a juicy and tender dish that is absolutely packed with flavor.
When it comes to dessert, you have a difficult choice to make; Indulge in one of the tempting menu items like Banana Hazelnut Tiramasu, or hit up the gelato bar for a scoop of vanilla, chocolate, or pistachio sweet Italian dessert.
Additionally, patrons can look forward to “Benvenuti Hour,” or rather- happy hour. Benvenuti hour takes place every weekday from 4pm-7pm. The full bar boasts a selection of six wines on tap- three white and three red. Further, the house cocktails are all exclusively wine-based. I am personally dying to try the Zenzero Pepe Nero, a house cocktail composed of Tito’s Vodka, Riesling, and house made ginger-peppercorn syrup.
Along with drink specials, Centrale keeps true to their welcoming Italian mindset by handing out fresh pizza at the start of every hour. Yes, you read that correctly. Happy hour, undoubtedly the best part of the day, now includes free pizza.
Centrale’s opening on October 7th is sure to shake up the College Town scene. Centrale is more than just a restaurant or bar, it is a new community hub for students and locals alike. If you are an established MadSo Social Drinker, check out this event for samples of Centrale's food and drink menu on October 13th.
Additionally, keep an eye out for Centrale Sommes- a group dedicated to connecting those with a passion for food and wine. They will host events like wine tastings and workshops to make your own mozzarella cheese. You can sign up to be a part of Centrale Sommes here.
The weather is getting cooler, so head over this weekend for a warm Italian welcome and experience everything the new hot-spot has to offer. Is it possible to drink wine, eat gelato, and play Bocce ball at the same time? I am personally committed to finding out.