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Acclaimed chef bringing new restaurant to Cottontown

Chef Sarah Simmons of smallSUGAR is opening a pizzeria in Cottontown.

Il Focolare, or “hearth,” will hearken to the chef’s favorite pizzerias in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the restaurant’s website.

Simmons, formerly of Birds and Bubbles restaurant in New York City, and her partner Aaron Hoskins told the website Eater Charleston that the restaurant at 2150 Sumter St. will reflect the “non-fancy” pizza parlor vibe from their childhood while recreating their favorite pies from New York, like pepperoni cups from Prince Street Pizza and the clam pizza from Pasquale Jones, as well as salads and desserts.

The restaurant is moving into the former Citta Del Cotone location in Cottontown. That wood-fired pizza restaurant opened to high expectations in the budding hospitality district but cratered after co-owner Rick Marzan stirred up an internet firestorm when he shared politically themed posts on his personal Facebook page that many found sexist and bigoted.

Simmons, who is not affiliated with the former owners, told Eater Charleston she and Hoskins had planned to open a pizza restaurant all along as way to expand their City Grit Hospitality Group program that trains people for the industry.

“This was a good opportunity for us to promote some of our team members and also make room for adding to the team,” she said.

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