BOCCA is the new Italian restaurant of your dreams. Don’t miss its opening on 2nd Ave. this February!

If you’ve headed down 2nd Ave. recently, you may have seen a sleek new upgrade to the space. Photo via Bham Now.

It’s time to break out your high school Italian. Beloved French restaurant Bistro 218 is opening a sister Italian ristorante, BOCCA. You don’t have to wait long, homemade pasta and fresh bread will be at your fingertips on 2nd Ave. downtown next month!

I would trust these chefs with my life.

BOCCA Ristorante
So close, yet so far away. We can hardly wait for the opening! Photo via Bham Now.

You might think this is an exaggeration, but have you tasted the food at Bistro 218? Magical.

On the leaderboard for the new establishment are co-owners Chef de Cuisine Ché Gravy Gaines, Sr. alongside Executive Chef Tom Saab. Both currently run the kitchen at Bistro 218, so you know you’re in good hands.

Aside from making extraordinary dishes at Bistro 218, Chef Ché has trained across the country in culinary capitals such as Miami, NYC, Boston, Atlanta and more, but of course, we’re partial to believe there’s something special about Birmingham.

“Birmingham is amazing. People can come from all over the world and recieve the same, if not better, delights that they recieve in all the major cities.”

Chef Ché

And what better place to make your mark than on 2nd Ave, AKA restaurant row. BOCCA plans to open in the former space of Rogue Tavern on 2312 2nd Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35203.

Not hungry? You’re about to be.

Hot and ready. Photo via Chef Ché.

The team is doing everything right, and by that, I mean continuing to serve up amazing entrees. Fresh pasta and sauces are made daily, in addition to fresh Italian bread and pastries. You heard me right, Italian pastries.

“I’m very excited about a chef I’ve worked alongside with here at Bistro 218, fellow Culinary Insititue of America graduate—Chef Scott, will be heading up the pastry department making everything from homeade cannolis to amaretto tiramisu.”

Chef Ché

I just feel like homemade cannolis needs to be emphasized here. Of course, they’ll also be a full bar service, because you can’t have pasta without wine. I won’t allow it.

BOCCA will serve only dinner from Tuesday through Saturday. The perfect days of the week for Italian food (because every day is perfect for pasta).

“With the continued success of Bistro 218, Chef Tom Saab and myself venture into expressing the elegance of true Italian cuisine exemplified with integrity and creativity of soul and southern cooking.”

Chef Ché

Let’s talk about aesthetics at BOCCA.

I’m only giving you a sneak peek, trust me when the place is finished you’re never going to want to leave. Photo courtesy of Chef Ché.

While BOCCA is still under construction, like an amazing meal—greatness takes time, the final touches are starting to come together. I can definitely see some exposed brick in that corner.

The restaurant will seat 148, and also include free valet parking. Hallelujah for those of us who can’t parallel park to save our lives.

“BOCCA is cozy, comfortable and sexy”

Chef Ché

Enough said. But also, you can start daydreaming of warmer weather now, because BOCCA will have a patio. Just picture sitting out there with a glass of prosecco on a warm spring day—is winter over yet?

BOCCA is so cool, they don’t even have social media (but they will soon) For now, reach out with any questions at and on Instagram @bistro218.

Irene Richardson
Irene Richardson
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