This Acclaimed Westchester Chef Is Making His Mark Down South

Celebrity chef and Fortina founder Christian Petroni shakes up the Nashville food scene with his latest culinary project.

From Westchester to the world, baby! Beloved local chef and Food Network star Christian Petroni is making his Nashville debut this month on Lower Broadway at Ella’s on 2nd, which will introduce a new coastal Italian concept, menu, and name – Ella’s by Christian Petroni – under his leadership and in partnership with Red Pebbles Hospitality.

Italian dishes
Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

Longtime fans of the chef’s signature marks will relish in the seasonal, fun, and rustic all-day Italian concept inspired by Petroni’s upbringing. Topped off with a lively open kitchen, warm and inviting atmosphere, and white oak communal chef’s counter, Petroni’s new restaurant busts open the doors of the Nashville food scene and invites everyone to sit at the chef’s dining room table.

“Nashville’s vibrant culinary scene has long attracted me as a chef. Witnessing friends thrive here with their innovative food and warm hospitality has been truly inspiring. It’s a city that celebrates life, and with my own passion for food, music, and good company, Nashville feels like the perfect place for my next venture,” says the Fortina founder.

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spaghetti
Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

For those of us who have been enticed into a trip down south for such a meal, Petroni’s menu consists of signatures as well as only-in-Nashville exclusive specials, including starters such as olive oil fried meatballs with Sunday sauce, ricotta, and fresh baked focaccia; eggplant parm served Neapolitan-style; and rigatoni roasted chicken ragu with eight-hour marinara. For a salacious sip to ride in tandem with the well-curated menu, vibrant signature cocktails celebrating classic Italian drinks are shaken and stirred through a modern lens – including a seasonal selection of Spritz and Negroni bars, much to the delight of Italian aperitivo culture lovers.

drink
Photo by Andrew Thomas Lee

While the masses recognize Petroni as Food Network regular who has won both Chopped (2010) and Food Network Star (2018) and participated in several seasons of Guy Fieri’s Tournament of Champions, those in the 914 have a special place in their hearts for his wood-fired fare at Fortina and superbly skilled dishes at Peniche Tapas in White Plains.

Shaped by both his Italian heritage and Bronx upbringing, Petroni spent childhood summers enthralled with the culinary heritage of his grandparents on the island of Ponza, Italy, just off the coast of Naples.

“Though I wasn’t raised in the South,” Petroni explains, “Italian-Americans in New York City share unexpected connections with Southerners. We’re both known for our warmth, hospitality, and deep love for gathering around delicious food, surrounded by loved ones. This shared spirit of welcoming and serving others is precisely the essence I’m aiming to capture with the new Ella’s concept in Nashville.”

Ella’s by Christian Petroni
210 Molloy St, Nashville; 629.248.9515

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