Shockingly thin pizzas, ethereal gnocchi and a true gelato sandwich at Gardena’s improbably industrial Eatalian Cafe for the L.A. Times:
PHOTO by BOB CHAMBERLIN / L.A. TIMES
They’re the sounds of blue-collar commerce: the pneumatic squeals of an impact wrench, the resonant clangs of metal striking metal. Out on the boulevard, a chorus of tires thrums across the asphalt. Together, it’s something like jazz, an improvisational soundtrack of working-world rhythms and melodies that coalesce around Eatalian Cafe, a 4-month-old restaurant in the middle of an industrial zone in Gardena.
It seems a mirage at first, an apparition of a restaurant improbably hidden among manufacturers and repairmen. Yet Eatalian bustles with a very real and unexpectedly upscale energy: Its parking lot is a stable of European luxury, and inside are the power brokers who hold the keys.
Owner Antonio Pellini never intended to transform this former textile factory into a restaurant — the space simply demanded it. Pellini originally envisioned only a production facility for fresh cheeses, gelati and baked goods. But Eatalian is so cavernous — whispers could probably echo for hours here — that a dining room built itself into the plans.
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