A Shining ‘Stella’ at Macy’s

I. A. (June 07, 2014)
The new addition to one of the busiest stores in New York City, Macy’s Herald Square is proving to be a true star (or “stella” in Italian). Stella 34, a modern trattoria-style restaurant, is quickly becoming a destination not just for shoppers, including many Italians overwhelmed by the scale of the nine-floor department store, but also for many New York foodies in search of Italian treasures.

A  little over a year ago, Macy’s flagship store partnered with Patina Restaurant Group to offer an unusual space for an upscale restaurant within the 111 year-old landmark  store. The space is as stunning as it is unusual, taking up 11,500 square feet on Macy’s sixth floor.

The first thing to strike you walking into Stella 34 is the glow of its dining room. As bright light enters through the oversized bay windows boasting views of the Empire State Building and Herald Square below, it creates a welcoming and warm atmosphere.

This is further emphasized by the carefully selected colors and the playfulness of the decor, including walls filled with caricatures of food celebrities, bold turquoise vases filled with yellow flowers or lemons, and more turquoise glasses on the dining tables that echo the attire of the waitstaff. 

An inviting bar introduces guests to the Italian tradition of the late afternoon aperitivo, serving specially priced Italian wines, beers, and cocktails accompanied by complimentary seasonal savory bites. And don’t forget the heavenly Vivoli Gelateria located at one corner of the bar: it belongs to third-generation gelato maker Silvana Vivoli from Florence, who’s  brought her famous treats outside of  their home city for the first time.

For those on the go the take-out counter will prepare classic panini and Neapolitan-style pizzas; both meat lovers and vegetarians alike will find something satisfying on the menu.

But if you’re looking for  a more sophisticated dining experience, get comfortable in the radiant dining room, with its open kitchen and three wood-burning ovens. Executive chef Jarett Appell, an American master of Italian cuisine, will wow even the most demanding palates. Having worked for over two years in distinguished restaurants in Rome, Naples, Parma, and Verona he has developed a deep passion for traditional Italian cuisine and food culture, based on fresh ingredients and seasonality,  and complemented with masterful creativity.

Appell proves his best talent with such dishes as Paccheri Napoletana (large hollow tube-shaped pasta with braised beef ragu, caramelized onions, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese) and Strozzapreti con Seppia (twisted cuttlefish-ink pasta with cuttlefish in spicy pepper sauce topped with bread crumbs). But he also makes delicious pizzas. In a recent exclusive appearance on our i-ItalyNY TV show, he taught the audience how to prepare a Pizza Scafata (with peas, favas, asparagus, spring onions, smoked mozzaralla and bacon, garnished with pecorino cheese and mint).

Stella 34 proudly proposes over 200 Italian wines to compliment the chef’s creations and has been granted the Ospitalità Italiana seal by the Italy-America Chamber of Commerce—an official recognition of its high quality approach to Italian cuisine.

No wonder that since its inception in late 2013 it has become a destination for many Italian-leaning foodies in the City, including crowds of Italian tourists who literally shout for joy when they discover this familiar oasis during their unforgettable Macy’s shopping tour — Forget hot-dogs for today, you’ve found a Stella!           





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