Santa Monica Place has added a new component to The Market, scheduled to open Friday, May 20th on the third level rooftop dining deck of the shopping center.

The new addition is an Italian dining concept, Primi Al Mercato, from Piero Selvaggio’s Valentino Restaurant Group, which operates restaurants in Santa Monica, Las Vegas and Houston.

Primi Al Mercato will feature both a retail side – Laboratory di Pasta – as well as a casual trattoria. It will offer pastas served in small plates with fresh sauces made from farmers market ingredients, and an interesting visual aspect will be an on-site pasta maker, a spokesperson for the retailer said.

“The Market is a perfect setting for primi piatti,” said Selvaggio. “I’ve long known that the Westside appreciates excellent, authentic Italian food and this new way to enjoy it – casually, right where you shop to take home with you – fits with how my customers think about food now.”

In 1972 Selvaggio opened Valentino Restaurant, which was named after silent film actor Rudolph Valentino to give it a sense of Hollywood and romance.

Selvaggio was born and raised in Modica, a small town on the southeastern tip of Sicily, and emigrated to Brooklyn, N.Y. where his first restaurant experience was at the age of 18 as a dishwasher. After moving to Los Angeles to work with an uncle at Chasen’s restaurant as a busboy, he later became a maitre d’ at a Las Vegas restaurant.

After returning to Los Angeles, he was encouraged by friends to open his own restaurant. He has received numerous awards from some top food and beverage magazines, as well as other publications.

The dining deck at Santa Monica Place includes six distinguished chef-driven restaurants, including La Sandia, Ozumo, Pizza Antica, Sonoma Wine Garden, Xino and Zengo, and a modern, indoor-outdoor food court, all with ocean and city views. Officials at Macerich, the owner of Santa Monica Place, said that the remainder of the center’s third level – 45,000 square feet above Bloomingdale’s – is still taking shape.

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