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PASSERO and corto

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  • 1 Forks Market Road

After a bit of courting, Scott Bagshaw has introduced his latest restaurant – a contemporary Italian concept – to The Forks Market.

As The Forks North Portage Partnership dreamed up a nearly $3 million renovation to the food hall, it had high hopes of attracting celebrated local chefs like Bagshaw, who has earned national accolades for restaurants Enoteca and Maque.

“They wanted a standalone restaurant and they had him in mind,” says Amanda Coe, manager for Passero and Corto. “He really wanted to open a modern Italian restaurant – and they’ve done such a great job on the build.”

Number TEN Architectural Group came up with the beautifully interwoven design that helps Passero and Corto stand out but belong – maintaining fairly open sightlines – especially important to draw in the lunch crowd at The Forks.

Corto – Italian for short or brief – is Bagshaw’s daytime offering, which delivers “elegant but unpretentious and casual” Italian meat sandwiches, describes Coe, and complementary salads from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. It also serves up classic espresso drinks along with wine and beer pairings for urban professionals and tourists to indulge in.

After 5 p.m. is when Corto tags off to Passero, a 40-seat full-service restaurant – about the average size for one of Bagshaw’s intimate environments – that is already winning hearts with its inspired, Italian-driven small plates.

“Everything that Scott does has the French technique, and he’s calling this modern Italian,” says Coe. “Scott gets very hyper-focused, and his hyper focus is here right now,” adds Coe, mentioning he’s been pulling 16 hours days at the new location.

Those familiar with Bagshaw’s establishments will be thrilled to see there’s a chef’s counter from which to take in the action – typically, the kitchen area is so nominal in his spaces, it’s an experience to marvel over the team’s ability to produce top-echelon food in the equivalent of most large restaurants’ storage rooms.

“This is at least three to four times bigger than any of the other kitchens,” says Coe. “Everything’s new and shiny… and it’s even just amazing to have space for the servers to walk through.”

The Passero and Corto team is already feeling right at home at The Forks. “All the administration here has been really helpful and amazing. Some of our wines come from Taylor at the wine store (Ellement Wine + Spirits). There’s a lot of really nice connections and it feels like a really nice community.”

Passero and Corto is open daily at The Forks Market Food Hall, and accepts reservations for dinner. Visit passerowinnipeg.com for more information or to browse the menu.