Jack Pallino's Napoletano Pizza and Pub opens this month in Dunedin

And we got all of the mouth-watering details.

click to enlarge L TO R: Kurt Ferguson, Shane Bittaker, Traci Bryant Ferguson. - C/O JACK PALLINO'S
C/O JACK PALLINO'S
L TO R: Kurt Ferguson, Shane Bittaker, Traci Bryant Ferguson.

Jack Pallino’s Napoletano Style Pizza and Sports Bar is on the cusp of offering sips, bites and a prime atmosphere for sports lovers in Dunedin.

The restaurant is looking to make its debut this month at 718 Broadway, next door to its sister concept, Jack’s Bottle Shop, which made its debut in June.

Jack’s is a descendant of the Nina Hospitality group, also known for Caracara, Coattails, and Taco Baby. 

Chef Tracy Bryant Ferguson and her team at Nina Hospitality have poured so much energy into every detail of this forthcoming concept and gave CL the scoop in an email interview.

“Shane [Bittaker], Kurt [Ferguson], and I had resurfaced the pizza sports bar concept several times before we played that hand last September. The idea was to have the concept ‘limping in’ for our tourist season in spring, but the world had a different plan,” chef Ferguson explained.

With the hit of the pandemic, amongst other reasons, the bottle shop portions of Jack’s arose. 

“Originally, we grabbed on to the space because our seating capacity was requiring we need another restroom and that space had one viable.”

Ferguson shared that the bottle shop also provided some elbow room to accommodate much-needed office space.

“The bottle shop part was a COVID baby. We saw a need for people to indulge in the finer things out of their homes. So we started thinking ‘Date Night at Home’. Now we are honing that concept, which has been a ton of fun!”

Ferguson, alongside Nina Hospitality, believes that Jack’s is something that is missing from downtown Dunedin. 

“There are several places people can go to watch sports in the area, no doubt, but what we are offering is something much more intentioned.”

Ferguson then goes into a very romantic description of what future diners can expect upon the restaurant’s debut.

“When you walk through the doors at Jack Pallino’s you are transported to the south of Italy. You will smell the char of the coputo flour coming from the oven roaring at over 900 degrees.”

“Can I start by saying we built a really cool bar… with our own hands… Someday maybe we can fill those seats, but for the current climate we offer a variety of comfortable seating!”

Jack’s host 30 or so seats (78 without social distancing) out on a covered outdoor patio, as well as distanced handcrafted tables indoors. Not ready to completely dine in? Guests can opt for picnic table seating out front and drink in the downtown vibes.

The space also hosts memorabilia of decades of Italian sports, as well as handcrafted tables and shelves, and of course, air games for local sports fans. And they’ll make sure are bubbles for them to celebrate the winnings or mourn the losses of their teams.

Jack’s is set to host a full liquor bar with a lineup of seasonal cocktails, as well as craft brews on pour.

“We are working with local breweries to come up with exclusive beers just for us as well as local favorites. Wine drinkers don’t fret! Jack’s bottle shop has an enormous selection of beautiful wines that can be enjoyed while you dine for a corkage fee,” Ferguson says while giving the rundown of sips.

Won’t be much longer until Dunedin and surround local foodies get a taste, although Ferguson said her team isn’t in a rush to open too soon.

“There is no push to get open tomorrow at this point. We are taking some extra time to ensure when we open our doors people are wowed by everything we have to offer.”

Upon opening, Ferguson is shooting to be operating seven days a week. Running 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays as well as Sunday, and 11 a.m.-midnight Friday and Saturday.

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