Ton-Up Cafe Revs Up On St. Marks Place: How It’s Looking, What It’s Cooking

Samantha Balaban

Because you can never have enough motorbike-themed Italian wine bars, a couple of Romans who admire Steve McQueen and Marlon Brando have opened Ton-Up at 127 St. Marks Place.

The design is modeled after the “café racers” who would streak between transport cafes in Europe, trying to reach 100 miles per hour between stops. If a racer succeeded, he made a “ton-up,” explained Riccardo Pieroni.

True to the theme, the salads and crostini are named after bike companies (Ducati, BSA, Bonneville) and the panini are named after classic rockers (Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash).

Ton Up Cafe OwnersSamantha Balaban L to R: Federico Lopez Stefanelli and Riccardo

Federico Lopez Stefanelli, who has spent the last decade managing restaurants like Bocca di Bacco in Chelsea, described the menu as “basic gastropub fare with seasonal items to keep things fresh.” A current special: organic grilled shrimp salad with mangoes and cucumbers.

Once the espresso station is up and running, there’ll be free WiFi, coffee and pastries during the mornings. Then during the evenings, the vibe will switch to that of a wine bar, with sliding French doors that open up to the street.

The cafe won’t be complete until Mr. Stefanelli’s bike arrives from Italy. “I have a Triumph ‘special,’ meaning that all the parts are custom,” he said with pride. “It’s my bike that is used in our logo.”

Check out the menu, which is subject to change (we’ll post an updated version when we get it).

Johnny Cash
Ciabatta bread with bresaola, arucola, sliced Parmigiano lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing – $14

Chuck Berry
Parma Prosciutto, Holland tomatoes and basil served with musclun salad – $13

Jerry Lee Lewis
Organic vegan sandwich with eggplant, zucchini, grilled fennel with our special dressing – $12

Elvis Presley
Free range organic chicken breast with skim milk mozzarella and Holland tomato special sesame and ginger dress – $16

Cutting Wooden Boards
Laguna Seca
Cold Cuts: Selection of prosciutti and jamon serrano and salami served with Italian focaccia – $14, or $24 for two

Cheese selection: special selection of Italian, French, Spanish, and American cheeses – $16 or $26 for two

The Tourist Trophy’s Special Crabcake Platter
Our special home prepared crab cakes served with salad and the chef’s sauce and Dijon mustard sauce – $18

Organic Salads
Yellow potatoes, string beans, asparagus, red onions, Mediterranean dressing

Farro, chickpeas, blue goat cheese, fresh mint

Grilled shrimp, mango, cucumber, sliced oranges, mixed green salad

The Cafe Racer’s Soup of the Day
Chef selection of organic vegetables

Delicious Pasta
Our unbeatable Italian style mac and cheese baked and finished in the oven

Agostini’s pasta of the day

Mushrooms and smoked scamorza served in a hot terrine

Brie and fresh tomato slices with basil served in a hot cast iron skillet

Chocolate truffle gelato – $8

New York style cheesecake topped with seasonal berries sauce – $8

Organic fresh fruits salad – $9

Our amazing pannacotta with choice of espresso or barolo reduction – $7

Espresso – $2.50
Macchiato – $3
Cappucino – $4.50

Ton-Up, 127 St. Marks Place (near Avenue A)