Bar Liberty team to open Italian-American restaurant Capitano in Carlton

(From left) Michael Bascetta, Banjo Harris Plane, Manu Potoi and Casey Wall at the site that will become Capitano.
(From left) Michael Bascetta, Banjo Harris Plane, Manu Potoi and Casey Wall at the site that will become Capitano. Photo: Darrian Traynor

It's time to strip back the black paint and roll out the red gingham. The team from Fitzroy's Bar Liberty has taken over Carlton dive bar The Beaufort and they're giving it an Italo-American accent.

Capitano will open at 421 Rathdowne Street in early August with Banjo Harris Plane, Michael Bascetta, Manu Potoi and Casey Wall pooling their collective experience, which includes Attica, Cutler & Co. and NYC's Spotted Pig. 

"We aren't trying to open up a kitschy Italian place – Lygon Street has enough of those," says Wall, who has made several research trips to the United States in preparation.

"The food and beverage will be rooted in tradition but we'll definitely put our own spin on them," says the North Carolina-born chef, who also co-owns Rockwell & Sons in Collingwood. "Most Italian places serve the same 20 dishes. We want to step away from that while still delivering something familiar."

The menu is still in development, but they expect to offer a couple of pizzas and pastas, lots of vegetable dishes, cured meats and veal parmigiana.

As at Bar Liberty, there will be a bar area, and booze will still be a focus. "We are fans of letting the people drink," says Wall. But the overall vibe will be more restaurant than bar.