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New Italian restaurant opens on St. Armands Circle

The highly anticipated Italian restaurant, 15 South By Napulè, will be the best of both worlds with an intimate restaurant downstairs and a lively bar and dance floor upstairs.

Alessandro Di Ferdinando, Antonio Mancini and Giancarlo Di Cosmo
Alessandro Di Ferdinando, Antonio Mancini and Giancarlo Di Cosmo
Photo by Petra Rivera
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15 South By Napulè is ready to serve St. Armands Circle. 

The grand opening for the highly anticipated two-story restaurant will be from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. The public is invited to come to browse the restaurant, meet the staff and taste a sampling of appetizers and pizzas along with a complimentary glass of wine or beer. The restaurant officially opens the following Monday, April 29.

Owner of the new restaurant and Napulè on Tamiami Trail Alessandro Di Ferdinando promised to bring back that lively atmosphere of the beloved 15 South Ristorante, the place to be in its heyday of the 2000s. The restaurant will have the same two-story concept as its predecessors. 

“It was the talk of the town,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, a longtime friend of Di Ferdinando and employee helping out with the opening of the restaurant. “People to this day talk about it how much they miss that spot open with good food and a fun bar and dance floor. I think we will be able to bring that lively vibe back to give the people what they want.”

The downstairs will be perfect for families and friends to enjoy a cozy, intimate environment while eating fresh pasta and pizza. As people head up the stairs, the second floor will provide an upbeat energy with a dance floor, full bar and balcony to look upon St. Armands Circle. Di Ferdinando plans to bring back the nightlife atmosphere with live bands, salsa dancing nights and DJ parties. 

As Di Ferdinando plays the frontman, all things food will be handled by his longtime friends and business partners, Antonio Mancini and Giancarlo Di Cosmo. Di Ferdinando and Di Cosmo met when they worked together at a Soho House concept in London. After years of staying in touch and keeping tabs on each other's careers, Chef Di Cosmo joined the team to head the kitchen with his creative dishes and love for authentic Italian food. 

Antonio Mancini's Neapolitan-style woodfired pizza made in multi-ton gold-tiled Neapolitan pizza oven.
Photo by Petra Rivera

Former Napulè pizza maker and Vesuvio Frozen Pizza owner Mancini will man the multiton gold-tiled Neapolitan pizza oven. Customers will be able to watch his careful process from their seats as he makes his iconic wood-fired pizzas and fresh bread.

15 South By Napulè prides itself on the authenticity of its Italian cuisine.

“The flour is imported from Italy and everything is just made so fresh here,” said Rodriguez. “I have never worked with Giancarlo and Antonio, but I definitely trust Alessandro to bring in the best chefs to give the most authentic Italian experience.” 

The menu will be similar to Napulè’s authentic Italian menu but will have Di Cosmo’s twist on it. It will include fresh pasta made from scratch, Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizza and a full bar of with specialty cocktails, wine and beer on both floors. 

Antonio Mancini, Giancarlo Di Cosmo and Alessandro Di Ferdinando transporting the multi-ton gold-tiled Neapolitan pizza oven into the restaurant.
Photo by Petra Rivera

Having Mancini, Di Cosmo and Rodriguez as part of his staff shows the family dynamic Di Ferdinando has wherever he sets up shop. Rodriguez started working with Di Ferdinando when she was 17 and now her daughter works for Napulè as well. They hope to provide the same close-knit, friendly dynamic with their customers too.

“I feel excited to be opening up this week,” said Di Ferdinando. “We are prepared to adjust things as we go because things don’t always go as planned.”

Di Ferdinando emphasized that his team is doing everything to make 15 South by Napulè a place full of memories with loved ones, eating top-tier Italian cuisine and dancing the night away. 



Petra Rivera

Petra Rivera is the Longboat community reporter. She holds a bachelor’s degree of journalism with an emphasis on reporting and writing from the University of Missouri. Previously, she was a food and drink writer for Vox magazine as well as a reporter for the Columbia Missourian.

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