The charming Bar Bodega opens in Little Italy today in the space formerly held by The Cheese Store of Little Italy, which shuttered in February. The Cheese Store’s co-founder, Marci Flaster, was involved in its design and development alongside new business partner Ken Karlan, a recent transplant from the East Coast who previously ran a restaurant in Connecticut. There’s a brand new bar and seating for nearly 50 in the remodeled Kettner Street eatery, which will be open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Serving an assortment of small plates, Bar Bodega’s menu ranges from classic tapas, including patatas bravas and an eggy Spanish tortilla, to chorizo deviled eggs and squid ink arancini, or fried risotto balls, set atop a trio of sauces — cilantro pesto, romesco, and charred pepper aioli. Chef David Lopez Gutierrez, an alum of Tijuana’s Culinary Art School, will also cook up lamb meatballs is housemade tomato sauce and shrimp ceviche verde with blue corn tostada, and Flaster will curate a rotating sampler board of Spanish cheeses. The wine list includes mostly Spanish varietals, including fizzy Basque txakolina, plus sherries and a few labels from France and California; on tap are three rotating craft brews and a dry Spanish sparkling cider. A 4 to 6 p.m. happy hour Sunday through Thursday features specially-priced tapas and drink deals on red and wine sangria, wine and beer.