BRIAN C. RITTMEYER| Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 6:30 a.m.
New Kensington residents eager for something new will soon have it, at someplace old.
City couple Philip Call and Jillian Ludwiczak plan to reopen Stella’s Restaurant in the Parnassus area of the city on Oct. 29 as Call for Catering at Stella’s.
While they’ll be running the food program, Stacey Mazzotta still owns the building, the liquor license and the restaurant, which had been featured on Food Network’s “Restaurant: Impossible” with celebrity chef Robert Irvine in 2015.
Call started his catering business, Call for Catering, with Ludwiczak in December 2019.
They’ve been working out of the kitchen at Stella’s, 400 Freeport St., where they have hosted dining events and Sunday brunches, some of which covid forced to be canceled last year.
“I think we’re getting more back to normal,” Call said. “People want to go back out again.”
Call said he plans to have short menus — one at the bar, another for the dining room — with a few regular items but will otherwise change every week.
At the bar, there will always be steak fries and a smash burger, Call said. The dining room menu will always have a broken-down, whole roasted chicken, a pasta, and fresh seasonal fish.
“Everything is going to be made from scratch by me,” Call said.
What they won’t have are the pizza and chicken wings Stella’s was known for.
“You can get those things anywhere,” Call said. “We’re trying to do something different. There’s nowhere in town to have a steak.
“I think the town’s craving it,” he said. “I know I am.”
While they have not priced the menu yet, dinner entrees could run $20 to $25; cocktails will be around $8; and wine $7 to $9 a glass. There will be two or three beers available.
To start, the restaurant will be open from 5 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, with the bar open until midnight. They plan to start a Sunday brunch in November, and expand hours and days as they add staff.
They would like to be open for lunch into happy hour weekdays.
At the start, Call, 36, a Navy veteran born in Germany to a military family, will be in the kitchen, while Ludwiczak, 29, a New Ken native, will be the bar manager. They’ll have a dishwasher and a few servers.
The outside of the building won’t look any different; they’ve been busy renovating inside, which meant not having any events there since June.
Ludwiczak said they want to create a warm mood, where customers enjoy their food and drink and aren’t just an “in-and-out.”
A lounge area with couches by the bar will have room for about 15 people.
“I want people to come in and want to stay,” she said. “We want people to have a good time, have a great meal and enjoy themselves.”
Call and Ludwiczak met at Stella’s, which they said has not operated as a full restaurant since 2016-17.
“It’s going to be fun to see it full again,” she said.