“All of the tools have a story,” says Evan Funke’s chef de cuisine, Andrew Naffziger. He is pointing at a glass-encased room behind which Funke stands, carefully arranging a shiny assortment of pasta cutters. Funke’s long-awaited Venice eatery, Felix, is finally ready to open its doors on Abbot Kinney. Funke is lining up his tools in preparation for the crowds of pasta-craving fans who have already filled the restaurant’s reservation system. Felix will officially open its doors to the public on Friday night, and Funke seems ready.
The tools look more like artifacts: eye-catching, heavy brass and silver devices, lined up behind glass like precious items in a museum. Each one is a treasure from a specific part of Italy, meant for a specific pasta shape. This glass room, officially called the pasta laboratorio, is meant to allow guests full view of the handmade pasta operation.
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Though it is hard to look away from the laboratorio, eye candy abounds at every turn at Felix. The Italian-grandma chic interior design, which was a collaboration between Funke, owner/partner Janet Zuccarini (CEO/owner of Gusto 54, which owns Felix) and interior designer Wendy Haworth (Winsome, Gracias Madre, Cafe Gratitude) charms with vibrant green floral wallpaper, vintage Italian light fixtures, handsome marble counters and warm wood floors. On the outside of the building, artist Cheyenne Randall painted a large mural of Italian actress Sophia Loren. In addition to the glass pasta room, an open kitchen churns out wood-fired pizzas and grilled secondi such as swordfish with salsa verde.
The front door at Felix opens into a stylish bar headed by Brandyn Tepper, who will be mixing seasonally driven cocktails. (Of course.) The dinner menu will feature house-made breads like focaccia and sourdough, and a variety of antipasti like fried squash blossoms, artichokes and pork meatballs. The pizzas will be made from dough that has been hand-mixed. And of course, there will be plenty of pasta. Funke plans to eventually offer 18-20 different pasta shapes nightly. Which seems like a lot, but they clearly have the tools for it.
1023 Abbot Kinney, Venice. (424) 387-8622, felixla.com.