If you’ve sauntered down King West recently, you may have noticed that there’s been some significant construction in the cavernous space beneath sausage-and-beer hall WVRST (609 King St. W., at Portland). This isn’t an expansion of Aldo Lanzillotta’s much loved second-floor restaurant, however, but the most recent project from Andrea Mastrandrea, the man responsible for the fresh baked goods at King West mercato Alimento, whose family also owns Aida’s Pine Valley Bakery up in Woodbridge.
The name of the new venture will be Forno Cultura (which also happened to be the name of the bakery that operated out of Alimento), and according to Laura White—one of the head bakers helping open the operation with Mastrandrea—the goal is to create a simple, honest Italian–style bakery similar to what you might find back in the motherland. “It’s a working bakery space, but we’ve constructed it in such a way that the public can come in, buy a coffee and some baked goods, and just watch what we’re doing—they can see our ingredients, our people, and our equipment,” says White.
As for what will be on offer, expect fresh made biscotti, amaretti, cannoli, and cream-filled brioche, as well as seasonal goods that coincide with the Roman Catholic calendar, like the zeppoles (Italian doughnuts) for the feast day of St. Joseph (March 19).
And while construction of the space is still underway, White says the project is nearing completion, and Forno Cultura should be open within the next few weeks—surely welcome news for the caffeine and baked goods loving workers of King West. —Jacob Rutka