When Corks & Cleaver Italian Bistro opens on Main Street in June, diners can expect the real deal.
“It will be a bistro with true Italian fare, not just lasagna and eggplant parmesan but dishes you would find in upscale rustic Italian restaurants all over Italy and in New York, Chicago and New Orleans,” said Chef David Dickensauge, owner of Corks & Cleaver in Gulfport and the former chef of Brackish in Long Beach.
The dishes will be made with local, sustainable produce from Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama. There will be imported cheeses and meats, the pasta will be made in house and the wine list will be eclectic. “What we do is not the food everybody else does,” he said.
Dickensauge and Jim Parrish have partnered up on the restaurant under the umbrella of their new restaurant group. Parrish bought and renovated the historic building at 111 Main Street a few years ago. Until recently, the space housed Old Cuevas Bistro.
Dickensauge promised the “same foodie-style food like at Corks & Cleaver, but with a different flavor profile, ingredients and ambiance.”
Parrish said, “We want to keep the Corks & Cleaver name because it has a following and is so successful,” Parrish said. He and Dickensauge have hired David Woodward, the longtime executive chef at the New Orleans Hilton, as a consultant on the new restaurant.
A brick wood fired pizza oven, manufactured by Marra Forni and one of a few in the South, will be the centerpiece of the dining room. “The one we’re getting is the best you can get,” Dickensauge said.
The menu won’t be long at first but will have artisan pizzas made from scratch, fresh pasta, small plates and entrees for lunch and dinner.
Dickensauge interned in Italy and worked in the kitchens of top Italian restaurants in Chicago. He promises lots of different pastas and other unique dishes, plus a fun, casual atmosphere. “It’s an awesome building and I’m looking forward to coming to Bay St. Louis,” he said. “What we are going to do is going to be amazing. The main thing is, we will create a fine Italian dining experience in Old Town.”
He said when the Italian Bistro opens, he and his staff from Corks & Cleaver will be in the Bay St. Louis restaurant while the Gulfport restaurant is relocated. “I’m going to be in the kitchen daily for the first two months after opening to help assure development of our new Italian brand,” Dickensauge said.