Marc Marrone, the chef behind Graffiti Bao and Piña, takes his ode to Chinese food to Yonkers, New York, next. He plans to expand Graffiti Bao into a separate space in the back of Fortina from his long-time friend Christian Petroni.
Marrone and his partner Todd Lunger opened Graffiti Bao in the southwest late last summer, but before opening, Marrone held a pop-up dinner at Fortina, Petroni’s pizza joint. The two were friends growing up in the Bronx, and Petroni went on win Season 14 of Food Network Star, later appearing on Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, Guy’s Grocery Games, Chopped, Beat Bobby Flay, Bite Club, and Family Food Showdown.
“We both grew up in New York eating Italian and Chinese food,” Marrone says. “The best memories have been around the table with each other, family, and friends, and it was always Italian or Chinese food. Now our careers have come full circle and we are excited to continue to push each others’ brands and collaborate.”
The new 65-seat Graffiti Bao opens in March and uses the wood-fired ovens at Fortina to make wood-roasted Chinese spare ribs, wood-fired Peking duck, and fire-roasted mushrooms with Shaoxing sauce and ginger. A new mural from New York-based artist OG Millie decorates one wall.
Marrone and Petroni plan to open more joint locations on the East Coast. Marrone says California is another option for expansion.
In Las Vegas, Marrone just opened an additional location of Piña, his Mexican restaurant with nachos topped with chicken tinga and barbacoa and tofu fajitas, at T-Mobile Arena, where he started Graffiti Bao.
The chef also plans to open Italian Graffiti with an attached pizza window at the The Bend, the new retail center under construction north of Ikea at Sunset Road and Durango Drive. That restaurant will serve pastas made in house when it opens in 2020. Marrone also plans to open a new rooftop restaurant at 201 Las Vegas Blvd. S. with Colin Fukunaga of FukuBurger fame.
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