The unassuming old (circa 1937) Standard Oil gas station at the corner of McRee and Tower Grove Avenues in the city's Botanical Heights neighborhood has received a new lease on life, thanks to chef Ben Poremba, one of the masterminds behind the acclaimed salumeria Salume Beddu.
Poremba has renovated the station and the house directly behind it into the restaurant Elaia (the house) and the wine bar Olio (the station).
"I definitely think Elaia is going to be more of a destination. It's a little more refined, upscale, reservation-only place," Poremba explains.
"I think Olio also will draw a lot of people. There's a really good vibe here. My intentions are to attract the people that are close by me first. I want it to be a neighborhood joint. It's a vibrant community, the Shaw neighborhood and Botanical Heights."
Elaia's dining room seats 28 and offers both an à la carte and a tasting menu. Poremba says the Mediterranean-inspired menu will change daily -- indeed, he had three different menus for each of three soft-opening meals.
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