The social experience of shared, small-plates dining will shape the aesthetic and the cuisine at Morcilla, the second restaurant from Justin Severino, award-winning chef
and owner of Cure
Severino recently announced plans to open Morcilla, his second Lawrenceville venture, in summer 2015.
Located at 3519 Butler St., Spanish tapas spot Morcilla will be just a few blocks from Cure, Severino’s critically lauded urban Mediterranean restaurant. Hilary Prescott Severino, Justin’s wife and business partner, will co-own Morcilla and oversee the wine program, similar to her role at Cure. Spain will dominate the beverage options with a wide variety of wines and sherries as well as hard-to-find Spanish cider.
“I love Spanish food, and coming up in the industry I cooked under serious Spanish-trained chefs like Manresa’s David Kinch,” Severino said. “Spanish cooking has been a major influence on what I do at Cure, and I’m thrilled to be bringing a complete Spanish dining experience to Pittsburgh. One of my favorite aspects of Spanish cuisine is the social experience of shared, small plates dining. Morcilla is going to be a true neighborhood spot, a place to relax with a glass of wine and a quick bite at the bar after work, or a family-style dinner with friends.”
The 3,800-square-foot restaurant will boast a 54-seat dining room, 10-seat bar, 6-seat chef’s counter and 40-seat private dining room, making Morcilla larger and more casual than Cure. The menu will foster a convivial environment with a focus on sharable small plates and larger dishes served family-style. Severino said he envisions Morcilla as a neighborhood spot where one could stop on their way home from work for a full-blown meal or snacks with a cocktail.
The menu, like Cure, will focus on meats and charcuterie and will be driven, according to Severino, by a charbroiler, a smoker and la plancha (a flattop grill). The name Morcilla actually means blood sausage, though the definition can vary regionally.
The tapas will include traditional mariscos tapa, consisting largely of raw, pickled and smoked shellfish. Mason jars will be both the preservation and serving vessels for the Escabeche y Conservas, which will include duck with fruit jam, marinated cheeses and grilled tomato and zucchini, all served with grilled bread. Pintxos, skewered bites traditionally served in bars, will feature octopus, pork belly and, of course, morcilla.
Severino also noted that the larger site of Morcilla will allow for dishes he can’t currently try at Cure, like more canning and a larger space to butcher whole animals. The kitchen will include a dedicated curing station, where executive sous chef Nate Hobart will create both Spanish and Italian-style charcuterie for Morcilla and Cure, respectively.
Similar to Cure, Severino will dictate Morcilla's design, sourcing counters, cabinets, tables and chairs from Pittsburgh’s Kramer Customs. Polished old-wood floors and ceilings and exposed brick walls accented by woodblock art prints by the nearby Tugboat Print Shop will give the space a lived-in, neighborhood vibe.
Severino grew up in a small town in Ohio and has worked in fine dining establishments in several cities, but said the atmosphere of Pittsburgh, Lawrenceville specifically, feels like home. “It’s a blue-collar town,” he said, “and [my wife and I] really relate to it.”
Morcilla will be open summer 2015 for dinner on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, with lunch and dinner served on Saturdays and Sundays.
Source: Cure, Justin Severino