A new Italian restaurant hopes to open around Christmas in downtown Bellingham

A space known for its fine-dining over the years will soon be home to an Italian restaurant featuring authentic dishes.

Puttanesca Ristorante is expected to be open sometime before Christmas at 100 N. Commercial St., said Fernando Nardone, whose family is putting together the restaurant. It’s in the former Hundred North space next to the Mount Baker Theatre.

The Nardone family owned and operated Montalcino restaurant in Issaquah for 10 years before selling it in June. Fernando Nardone’s parents moved to Bellingham and have encouraged other family members to join them in Bellingham to open Puttanesca Ristorante.

Fernando Nardone said in an email that his mother Michelina was an opera singer in Italy and is known for singing and cooking, both things she plans to do at the Bellingham restaurant. Fernando’s father, Giovanni, will be handling the wine, some of which will be coming from the family vineyards in Italy.

The Bellingham restaurant will have a menu similar to the Issaquah restaurant, with a focus on authentic Italian dishes, Fernando Nardone said. That restaurant received a bit of publicity in February 2016 after a patron discovered a rare pearl in one of the clams during dinner.

Fernando Nardone said the Bellingham restaurant will have a more casual feel compared to the one in Issaquah. They don’t plan on doing much remodeling, except to add a semi-private room.

The space did not remain empty long. Hundred North, known for its farm-to-table food menu, closed at the end of August. The space was also known for other fine-dining establishments, including The Table and Pacific Cafe.

Details and updates on Puttanesca Ristorante can be found on its Facebook page.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.