Student Eats: Stella Public House hosts dual dining at a great price


Stella Public House utilizes a woodfire oven to serve a variety of neo-Italian homestyle cuisine. Photo credit: Joe Kendall

Edgar Inda

Sitting in the middle of new housing developments in East Village, a shining new restaurant stands hidden in the scene of what appears to be a small retail office building. Stella Public House offers a surprisingly welcoming warm tone to its guests with a dual theme: a dark little secret and a couple of cool surprises.

Located only half a mile away from campus on the corner of 14th Street and Island Avenue, the exterior of the restaurant suggests a sense of covert exclusiveness (with no sign outside to announce their location) but upon entering, the chic decor changes the tone.

Making up the first half of Stella’s dual theme, Halcyon is a coffee shop offering a full liquor bar and barista service. It is a lounge-like area filled with a combination of old European and colorful minimalist furniture. A few tables scattered around and a full bar cover the inside, but the place extends to an open patio outside with comfortable beach chairs, a large party table and booths. The lounge is dimly lit and roughly decorated, with plenty of open space.

The coffee shop features a different coffee bean every month and a selection of small delicious, but very affordable, lunch items. The meatball sub sandwich with marinara sauce and Swiss cheese served with a light salad is a real treat. The bruschetta is made with burrata, heirloom tomato and prosciutto over warm house made bread. But the best has to be the fried mozzarella bites served with a side of warm zesty marinara sauce.

The staff here is friendly, courteous and helpful, making it easy to feel welcomed. With comfortable seating, easy-going music and free Wi-Fi and such comfort food as you’d like to have at home, it makes a perfect setting for students to come here before, between or after classes since they are open from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Happy hour offers $5 snacks, $2 off select cocktails and $1 off well beer and wine from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Stella opens at 5 p.m. and is located behind Halcyon, neatly tucked away in a industrial-themed space. Crowded with brawny wood-and-steel long tables and stools, it is accommodated by a wood fire pizza oven adjacent to a bar which features a 30-beer on tap selection. The restaurant side is inviting for friends and family to seat alongside one another and perhaps share an interesting evening with some neighboring strangers and locals.

“We want our guests to feel right at home, that’s our aim,” said sous chef Alfonso Salinas. “Our signature pizzas and meatballs is what we want people to come back for.”

Offering the classic margherita along side their signatures “Quatro” —with four types of cheeses — and the meatball pizza, all made with fresh everyday made dough and house-made mozzarella cheese, the restaurant is quickly making a name for homestyle cooking with a neo-Italian theme. This place is onto something good.