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Mediterranean Tea Room menu

Mike Niccoli, who was head chef at The Century House in Latham from 2008 until this past spring, tells me he has bought the Midtown Tap & Tea Room in Albany and will turn it into a Mediterranean eatery called Restaurant Navona. The final day for Midtown Tap & Tea, located at 289 New Scotland Ave., at Ontario Street, will be Dec. 22.

Restaurant Navona will debut with a soft opening from 4 to 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. It is named after a piazza in Rome that Niccoli and his wife, Kim Baker, enjoy visiting. The couple will run Navona together, with Niccoli in the kitchen and Baker, who was general manager at The Century House, focusing on developing a private-events business for the restaurant.

The menu will feature a majority of dishes prepared in a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. (I’ll post the menu next week when it becomes available.) There will be Neapolitan-style pizza, roasted fish, house-made pasta, small plates and entrées priced at $15 to about $25, Niccoli says. He says he believes Navona’s Italian and Mediterranean identity will be a complement to the restaurant row on a stretch of New Scotland Avenue that includes Capital City Gastropub, The Beer Belly and the sushi restaurants Kuma Ani and Sake Cafe.

Niccoli also will offer regular cooking classes led by area chefs in which participants will help prepare a meal and dine family-style. Instructors already on the schedule are Mark Graham and Brian Bowden, with whom Niccoli and Linda Kindlon, of Bake for You in Albany, run the pop-up-event team. The foursome also plan a 3 Chefs and a Baker night at Navona.

Niccoli and Baker bought the Midtown Tap & Tea business and building from founder Nancy Kupiec, who opened it in 2007. She plans to focus on her contracting firm. Unredeemed Midtown Tap & Tea gift cards, of which Niccoli says there are few, will be accepted at Navona.

Projected hours for the opening months will be 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday and Monday. The phone number will remain the same: 435-0202.

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Source: blog.timesunion.com
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