Longtime Little Italy Restaurant ‘Velleggia’s’ Making a Comeback at Cross Street Market

| June 15, 2022 | 0 Comments

Chefs Brendon Hudson and David Montaguedo will be opening Velleggia’s in  2,000 sq. ft. space at Cross Street Market in Federal Hill. Velleggia’s will occupy a closed-off space in the market previously occupied by Rooster & Hen.

Velleggia’s was a longtime staple in Little Italy before the family sold the building in 2007. Hudson’s grandfather Frank Velleggia Sr. was the owner of Velleggia’s. Hudson grew up at the restaurant and worked on the floor before making his way to the kitchen.

Hudson and and Montaguedo will be bringing back some of the popular dishes from Velleggia’s focused on housemade pasta, veal, and seafood, plus coming up with new plates and putting  their spins on the classics. When Velleggia’s is not serving housemade pasta, it will get pasta from the Velleggia family pasta business, Casa Di Pasta.

The chefs will also bring back the bold interior designs of the former Velleggia’s. The original Velleggia’s was designed by longtime Baltimore interior designer Rita St. Clair.

Hudson and and Montaguedo will be putting in porcelain flooring, replacing the chicken wire in the stall windows with something yet to be decided, adding new countertops, painting the walls, and putting in “bold” wallpaper accent walls. The space, which will not have a physical bar, will have table seating for 44 to 46 guests. It will also have a small market area in the space that will sell beer, wine, liquor, and hard-t0-find Italian groceries including dry pastas and olive oils.

The chefs were inspired by restaurants within markets such as Eataly in New York City.

“I love what Cross Street Market is now. I think they did a great job on renovations and keeping in mind the history of the market,” said Hudson, who added they considered reopening Velleggia’s in Little Italy, but didn’t feel the timing was right. He didn’t rule out bringing Velleggia’s back to Little Italy in the future though.

Hudson and and Montaguedo hope to open Velleggia’s by the end of summer or early-fall.

It will be open for lunch and dinner. Lunch will likely be more counter service with sit-down dining for dinner.

“We are just super excited to transform the space and get it open,” said Hudson, noting that renovations are expected to begin this month. “It’s been such a huge blast of positive feedback with people telling stories about Velleggia’s from when they were kids.”

Hudson and and Montaguedo met at Culinary Institute of America. They have worked at different restaurants in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and San Diego, and started catering company Liliahna together eight years ago.

The chefs also opened Allora in Mount Vernon in September. Allora is their take on a “Roman bistro” as they have spent a good amount of time in the Italian city and loved their dining experiences. Allora is just 900 sq. ft. and they like that it is small and easy to manage, but also can easily fill up and “give a vibe.” This restaurant size also reminds them of their favorite cafes in Rome.

“It’s like fine dining, but without the stuffiness,” said Hudson.

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Founder and Publisher of SouthBmore.com, longtime resident of South Baltimore, and a graduate of Towson University. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, father of three, amateur pizza chef, skateboarder, and "bar food" foodie. Email me at Kevin@InceptMM.com and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.