The iconic Il Postino Restaurant — which closed its doors in Condado more than three years ago — is reopening today in the Miramar sector of San Juan with a menu reminiscent of the original eatery, but with affordable options included in response to the times.
The 110-seat restaurant is a reincarnation of Atame, owned by the same parent company — Nechadoma Inc., run by partners Sixto George, Luis González and Roberto Cruz — that closed recently after a year in business.
Il Postino moved into the same historic, 5,000 square-foot mansion on Ponce de León Ave., which had undergone a $1.2 million redesign last year for Atame. Another $50,000 was invested recently to give Il Postino a distinctive look, said Manuel Álvarez, gastronomic consultant to the owners, during a preview of the menu Thursday night.
The same chef that ran the former Il Postino’s kitchen is in charge of the current menu, which Álvarez said will be sure to evoke the dishes and tastes that made the restaurant a favorite among locals. The new eatery employs about 30 people.
Although the eatery is opening during a critical economic time in Puerto Rico, Álvarez said the more affordable menu options — including pasta and pizza dishes — and about 25 less expensive wine labels available for lunch, will ensure its longevity. The restaurant features an extensive wine cellar.
“We want to make this about family, about people who want to go out to have a nice meal, especially now when so many people are still without gas or electricity at home,” he said.
Meanwhile, the partners are looking to open another restaurant in Puerto Rico — possibly featuring elevated “criollo” fare — as well as an eatery in Colombia, Álvarez said.
“As soon as we can find a location that offers a reasonable rent — because they cannot be the same as they were before Hurricane María — we will open another location in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Il Postino opens for business at noon today, joining two other Italian restaurants in the zone — Melanzana and Pizza e Birra. Álvarez said there is room for all three, as all of them bring something different to the table.