One of the new dishes at La Panarda: Ossobucco Lamb Shank, Polenta, Mushrooms, and Spring Pea Compote / Photo by @creatingwithjosh

Chef Deborah VanTrece to Open New Italian Restaurant

James Beard Award-nominated chef Deborah VanTrece will be opening her second restaurant in the historic Cascade Heights neighborhood and third Atlanta restaurant on May 12.

La Panarda will focus on traditional Italian dishes while incorporating local and seasonal ingredients, with creative culinary twists for which Chef VanTrece has become known during her celebrated culinary career. When developing the menu for La Panarda, Chef VanTrece drew inspiration from her time living in Italy. Guests will see this reflected in the La Panarda’s seafood dishes, which come from Chef VanTrece’s time spent in the coastal city of Pescara, as well as Tuscan influences from the central Italian city of Siena.

La Panarda gets its name from an Italian culinary tradition influenced by a folklore story. A young Italian mother in Abruzzo found her newborn baby in the mouth of a wolf after going to retrieve a bucket of water. After praying to St. Anthony of Abate, the wolf releases the baby and runs away, and the young woman decides to throw a feast to celebrate. This tradition, called La Panarda, would be passed down from generation to generation.

“Having lived in Italy, I was inspired by the culture and the food, particularly on the coast and in the Tuscany region,” said Chef VanTrece. “I loved finding ways to incorporate Italian staples into my dishes. When I learned about the tradition of La Panarda and how food would bring people together in celebration and gratitude, I knew I wanted to one day bring a concept like this to Atlanta.”

Each meal will begin with a complimentary Stuzzichini (Bruschetta of the Day) and an Aperol Spritz, a Venetian wine-based aperitif.

Signature small plates will include an Oyster Arancini with Pink Peppercorn Remoulade; Marinated Seafood Salad with Cornbread Biscotti; Barbecue Duck and Mascarpone Cannelloni with Smoked Cherry Agrodulce; and Eggplant, Fried Green Tomato Parmesan with Lemon Ricotta, and Aged Balsamic Drizzle.

Highlights of La Panarda’s pasta and main dishes will include Osso Bucco Lamb Shank with Creamy Polenta, Wild Mushroom & Spring Pea Compote, and Citrus Mint Gremolata; Pappardelle Pasta Ribbons with an Angus Beef Short Rib Ragu; Cod Piccatta over Angel Hair Pasta and Pecorini Broccolini; Escarole, Collards and Cannellini Fregola; Tuscan Smothered Chicken accompanied by a Vidalia Onion Risotto and Butter Poached Asparagus; and Berkshire Smoked Pork Cheek Carbonara over Blank Ink Pasta.

Desserts will include a Panettone Bread Pudding, Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream, and Sabayon Sauce; Cognac Tiramisu; Georgia Peach Crostata with Mascarpone Whip; and a Gelato of the Day.

The menu will also feature a Flatbread Pizza of the Day and a seven-course prix fixe option, in a nod to the tradition of La Panarda.

To fully execute her vision for La Panarda, Chef VanTrece will serve as the restaurant’s executive chef. The new restaurant will be a family affair, as VanTrece’s wife Lorraine Lane will serve as the curator of wines, and her daughter Kursten Berry has developed unique specialty cocktails for the menu.

La Panarda is located at 2317 Cascade Road SW, Atlanta, GA 30311. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday, 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. You can view the full menu here. For more information, follow La Panarda on Instagram.