Pompette, a new Italian and French bistro, replaces Café Rouge

Stephanie Lopez/File

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Pompette, a new Italian and French bistro, opened at 1782 Fourth Street three weeks ago, taking over the twenty-year location of Café Rouge.

The new restaurant seeks to serve a variety of Italian, French, British and North African cuisines and create a seasonal experience for both families and young adults, according to owner David Visick. Pompette, however, will continue serving drinks at the same zinc bar as Café Rouge.

Visick worked as a chef for Chez Panisse more than 14 years ago before he left to work as a private caterer. He said he would hire people to help him serve food at various fundraisers and dinner parties but wished he could do something more.

“I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant,” Visick said. “About two years ago, Marsha McBride made an offer and I took it.”

Visick said McBride, the owner of Café Rouge, was a friend and offered to sell the location to him when she decided it was time to close the restaurant. He took this opportunity to open his own restaurant and serve the food he liked to cook.

At the bistro, Visick works as a chef in the kitchen, changing the menu a little bit every day. He said seasons dictate the type of food he serves — one day it would be asparagus and another it would be corn. Unlike Café Rouge, Visick said his restaurant is less about meat and more focused on vegetables.

Joseph Pagano, the manager at neighboring store Pave Fine Jewelry, said he was sad to see Café Rouge close but added that customers at his store seem eager to try Pompette.

“(Pompette) hasn’t introduced themselves around to the stores in the area,” Pagano said. “However, I am hoping old clients like Pompette like they (liked) Café Rouge.”

According to Visick, the past few weeks since Pompette’s opening April 11 have been good, and the customers were great. He said he hopes Pompette will become like a second living room — a place where someone could stop for a drink at the bar one day and bring their family in for a meal the next.

Campus alumni Paul Burglin wanted to try Pompette after a recommendation from nearby Japanese restaurant Iyasare. He said the bistro was a little pricey and not the same quality as Chez Panisse but was a comfortable dining place. Burglin noted he might come back, but there are a lot of good restaurants to consider in the area.

“If I had to give it a score, I would give it a B,” Burglin said. “Overall, it was good food.”

Contact Gibson Chu at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @thegibsonchu.