After a few weeks in soft-opening mode, Jianna officially opens for dinner service tonight.
Michael Kramer is over luxury ingredients.
“I’ve run the four- and five-star kitchens and that’s fun, but this time I just wanted to cook the food that I want to eat,” says Kramer.
Enter Jianna, his modern Italian restaurant that finally opens today in Greenville, South Carolina.
It’s been a four-year-long passion project of Kramer’s and every detail evokes his past, from an interior design featuring blues and greens to mimic the ebb and flow of the Italian coastline to accents woven throughout the space that mimic Bianchi racing bikes (cycling is a longtime hobby) to the name of the restaurant, which is a reference to his mentor Marc Valiani’s now-closed San Francisco institution. It’s a bit of a departure from where Kramer has been before—McCrady’s in Charleston, the now-closed Voice in Houston—but it’s a natural next step for the chef.
In the breezy open kitchen, Kramer has brought in a prosciutto slicer and built out a pasta station where he and his team can revive soulful peasant dishes, like pappardelle made from leftover toasted flour tossed in a lamb ragu.
There’s a whole section of the menu dedicated to oysters. Both fatty West Coast and briny East Coast oysters are shucked and served with a house-made hot sauce and Prosecco mignonette.
“Greenville really doesn't have anywhere else making fresh pasta the same way we do or the diversity of both East and West Coast oysters,” Kramer says. “It's going to be a different Italian experience for many people here that they've never experienced before.”
And it’s already catching on. This past Saturday, even during the soft opening, Kramer and his crew had over 300 covers during dinner.
“It's been very rewarding to not only have friends and colleagues reach out and tell me how excited they are, but the entire city of Greenville is embracing the restaurant and has given us the most incredibly warm welcome,” he says.