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Figidini Wood Fire Eatery Has A Mediterranean Flavor

By S. Mathur

Figidini Wood Fire Eatery a restaurant with a wood-fire grill and a lineage. Jointly owned by the husband and wife team of Kara and Frankie Cecchinelli, it draws upon the experience gained by Frank's parents in running two popular wood burning restaurants in Massachusetts. Opening in downtown Providence in 2013, they decided to use only a wood fire grill and wood fire oven as the cooking sources.

The wood ovens add to the personal character and charm of the restaurant. There is no gas oven, fryer, or microwave at Figidini. This makes things a bit more difficult but the taste of the food is worth it.

"Besides being the only restaurant to solely use wood fire as a cooking method, our restaurant has a personal feel and charm," Kara Cecchinelli said. "We decided to design it ourselves and by doing that we could create a space that really defined who we were. It's comfortable and clean."

The menu is Mediterranean inspired, and the pizza is definitely Neapolitan.

"We try to replicate the Neapolitan pizza that you would be having in Naples," Cecchinelli said. "Although we make the dough in house, all the ingredients are imported from either Italy or Spain. Our wood fire oven is made out of forged volcanic ash and our tomatoes are grown in volcanic soil."

There are small plates that can be shared, but the pizza is individual sized. Cecchinelli is especially fond of the serendipitous Margharita Extra Special pizza with San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella di bufala, sea salt, basil and imported olive oil. The lunch menu has sandwiches like lamb with Turkish inspired spices and chicken curry. Dinner entrees from the grill include lamb and local sausages as well as steak, chicken and seafood options.

The drinks menu includes unique cocktails and a target selection of wine and craft beers. Outdoor seating allows diners to enjoy the hipster vibes while eating a well prepared meal. Ingredients are locally sourced and the emphasis is on simplicity and quality. In its short span of existence, Figidini has already won two Best Pizza in Providence Awards from Rhode Island Monthly.

Figidini has also built up a large and loyal clientele. For many, the food is taste of home.

"We have so many customers originally from Naples that are now living in Providence that tell us we bring them back with our flavors," Cecchinelli said. "That's really special for us. You can give a restaurant all the awards in the world but to see a customer take a bite and get teary eyed because it reminds them of home... there is just no comparison in feeling that type of accomplishment."

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