In the early 1990s, those of us looking for a decent slice of pizza or pasta with the perfect sauce around downtown Raleigh had a limited choice of Italian places that included the likes of Brothers and Two Guys.
The once sleepy area has since transformed into a vibrant destination with a wealth of bars, coffee shops, bakeries – and Italian restaurants.
But now, Michael Longo, whose father owns two of those restaurants – Vic’s and La Volta – thinks too much pizza and pasta isn’t such a good thing anymore, especially since he’s in competition with himself.
“We own Vic’s in City Market, and it’s Italian as well,” Longo said. “We are two blocks from each other and are competing with each other. So we decided to do something different.”
That something different turned out to be a new restaurant concept that fills a gap for those in search of food with an island flavor. The Longos closed La Volta Jan. 3 and are set to replace it with Twisted Mango, an eatery with “Caribbean Island influenced Central American cuisine.”
Longo, Twisted Mango’s general manager, said the menu is still being finalized, but that the place will serve dishes made in-house such as empanadas, chicken wings with homemade sauces, jerk chicken and marinated skirt steak, which he predicts will be a top seller.
The restaurant hopes to elevate the Fayetteville Street nightlife. It will focus on its bar and offer cocktails, shooters and shots made from liquors such as its own infused vodka. Twisted Mango will also have a “quick service” lunch that’s similar to its dinner menu.
The 6,000-square-foot space, which holds about 180 to 200 diners, will be colorful, bright and energetic and have a Caribbean and beach feel, Longo said. The place will also have a large outdoor patio. Prices will range from about $7 to $25.
Twisted Mango will have karaoke on Thursday nights and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Longo, who hopes to open before the Feb. 1 Super Bowl, says the new concept will offer downtown Raleigh something that its missing.
“I think Fayetteville Street needs a nice Caribbean restaurant,” he said. “And that’s what we’re going to give them.”
Twisted Mango will be at 411 Fayetteville St., in the former La Volta space near City Plaza.
Uncle Maddio’s, a make-your-own pizza franchise, is opening its first Triangle location in Cary.
The place will offer three types of crust, six sauces, seven cheeses and 47 toppings that include black bean corn salsa and chicken apple sausage.
The restaurant also will carry signature pizzas, such as the chicken club with ranch dressing, mozzarella, cheddar, chicken, bacon, lettuce and roma tomatoes. The 2,400-square-foot restaurant seats 80 and will open its patio when the weather is warm.
Uncle Maddio’s is having a grand opening party Jan. 24. The restaurant will be at 7157 O’Kelly Chapel Road in Parkside Town Commons.