Fortunately for Naples, chef Vincenzo Betulia feels we can never have enough of a good thing. In April, he branched out from 5th Avenue South and brought a second location of his popular Italian gastropub, Bar Tulia, to Mercato.
“I wanted to be in North Naples from the beginning,” he says, “but couldn’t find the right location. When Mercato offered me this intimate location, I took the opportunity to expand and innovate.”
Bar Tulia at Mercato has an eclectic menu focused on the cuisine of the southern Mediterranean (think Spain, Morocco, Corsica, Sicily, and Sardinia). Betulia describes it as a hybrid of his three restaurants: there’s garganelli with lamb neck sugo from Osteria Tulia, steak frites from The French, and original Bar Tulia favorites such as the bucket o’ fried chicken. A wood-burning pizza oven turns out Roman-style pies, and new cocktails such as the Tangerine Painkiller complement the food.
Decor is warm and rustic, with outdoor seating for 75 diners. The executive chef at the new location is Kayla Pfeiffer, formerly in charge of the kitchen at The French. “She comes from a culinary family,” says Betulia, “and she’s young and talented—she started with me at 21 and just turned 25. She has an incredible amount of energy and passion.”
Betulia views his new location as a building block in his campaign to elevate the local dining scene. “Our clientele in Naples is sophisticated and well traveled, and it’s exciting to be able to expand their possibilities. The concept of Bar Tulia is to give Naples something it didn’t have.”