James Diack’s New York-style The Federal in Melville will be getting a complete makeover, and emerging in March 2018 as rustic pizzeria La Stalla (The Stables).

“Since we opened in Melville in September 2016, we’ve noticed a change in what people are eating, and what they’re spending. And, in today’s fast-moving restaurant industry we have to adapt,” explains James. “We’ve also seen how successful the food and environment at Il Contadino in Parktown North has been, and so we’re going to make La Stalla a mini version of that.”

The pizzeria will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 7 until 10, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. A range of farm-fresh breakfasts will be available for R75 each, and for lunch and dinner, guests can choose between a selection of small plates, wood-fired dishes, pizza options, roasted chicken and fresh salads. Dessert is kept simple – gelato will be served in either cones or bowls.

“The food will be good, soulful, value-for-money and cooked in a similar style to Il Contadino,” says James. “We’re installing a pizza oven and all of the ingredients we cook with will be sourced straight from our farm, Brightside in the Magaliesburg.”

James will be working in partnership with Il Contadino’s Head Chef, Rausharn Griffin to operate and manage the establishment. Rausharn has worked alongside James since 2014, first at Coobs and later heading up the team at Il Contadino.

“I’m really excited at the opportunity to work as a business partner with James at La Stalla,” Rausharn says. “I’ve learnt so much from Il Contadino and now I’m ready to bring something new to Melville.”

Along with having a pizza oven installed into the space, James is also updating the façade and some of the décor – The Federal’s reclaimed wood-panelled wall and copper-piping will remain.

For drinks, expect OC Brewery craft beer, a wine list featuring some quirky and affordable boutique wines and some interesting cocktails.

“This will be my simplest restaurant to date, and I can’t wait to share the experience with Rausharn, and with Melville,” James concludes.

*Featured image by Katy Harrison Photography