After dining at Scopa, the Italian-inspired restaurant in Healdsburg, it is not uncommon to come stumbling out onto the Plaza feeling light-headed. Partly because the small space is always packed and because you have likely enjoyed at least one bottle of red wine, but also, and more importantly, because the ingredients are so impossibly, explosively fresh, the pasta so light and tender, the meatballs so perfectly browned and spicy and the burratta so heart-breakingly creamy that you actually feel like you have reached nirvana.
Which makes the fact that Scopa’s husband-and-wife team Ari and Dawnelise Rosen are opening another restaurant right around the corner pretty damn exciting. While the new spot doesn’t have a name yet, the focus is going to be similar, but will do for pizza what Scopa has done for pasta, which, according to wine director Graham Anderson, is to “take fresh, local ingredients and add a lot of love,” to put it simply. (There are a couple pizzas on the menu at Scopa; they’re cooked in a gas oven and aren’t bad, but pasta really is the star.)
Scopa II, as it is being referred to for now, is on Healdsburg Avenue in a 100-year-old brick commercial building that most recently housed the mediocre A Divine Affair. The space has been completely gutted and the back alley/patio now boasts a wood-fired oven, outdoor bar and bocce court. With an emphasis on al fresco dining, it sounds like the perfect compliment to the tight quarters (the narrow space was formerly a barber shop) and at times frenetic pace of Scopa.
As for the wine list, Anderson promises his usual compromise, which is to feature half local wines (many of them Italian varietals) and half Italian imports. He says the two things that the many winemakers who frequent the restaurant want to see are their own wines on the list and something they have never tried before. By keeping the one-page list tight and focused and offering local producers one year contracts, Anderson strikes a perfect balance: he sells a lot of local wine and always has something new.
While a name has not been chosen, nor an exact opening date set, Anderson says they are shooting for early June.