Burrasca began its journey on four wheels: as a cheery yellow lattice-trimmed food cart in Southeast Portland, in August of 2013. It has since grown up into a casual, lively, neighborhood restaurant committed to serving the old-school Florentine cuisine of Chef Paolo Calamai's roots: rustic, comforting, and unfussy. Burrasca honors the rich tradition of regional Italian cuisine by letting the beauty and quality of carefully-selected seasonal ingredients shine, delighting in bringing unusual and little-known corners of gastronomic Tuscany to its own little corner of Portland.
The name Burrasca is taken from a classic Tuscan children's book, Il Giornalino di Gian Burrasca, which recounts the adventures of the high-spirited & somewhat recalcitrant little Giannino Stoppani, aka Gian Burrasca ("burrasca" meaning storm or tempest), who, like any proper Tuscan worth his crust, has an inordinate affection for pappa al pomodoro.
Born and bred among the family vineyard and vegetable garden on the northern edge of Florence, Paolo Calamai is a passionate, sensitive proponent of Tuscan cuisine in all its simple, earthy glory. His wife and business partner, Elizabeth Petrosian, lived some 12 years in the Renaissance capital – where their two children were born – and is an ardent evangelist of Italian food culture. In offering a uniquely regional food and wine experience, they hope to transmit their mutual love for the incredibly rich breadth and diversity of this spectacular chunk of Italy.