AUBURN – A giant banner displayed on The Hotel at Auburn University is piquing the city’s interest by asking one basic question: What is Piccolo?
Located inside The Hotel’s restaurant, Ariccia Trattoria and Bar, Piccolo is Auburn’s newest gathering place. Hans Van Der Reijden, managing director of The Hotel at Auburn University, said the typical hotel lounge of earlier days has been transformed into an intimate jazz spot.
“Piccolo is very cozy, comfortable and jazzy,” Van Der Reijden said. “Piccolo is Auburn, but with little slices of the great jazz bars found in New York and Chicago.”
Piccolo features live jazz music Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., excluding home football weekends, and serves specialty cocktails, high gravity beers, champagne and wine.
Ariccia chef Miguel Figuerora created a menu of appetizers and desserts specifically for Piccolo. The menu consists of nine “small bites” items, as well as three “sweet bites” items. The bites range in price from $2.95 to $4.95, and Figuerora plans to add more items to the menu soon.
“We did not want to create an image of being super fancy and expensive, because we’re not,” Van Der Reijden said. “We wanted this to be a place where our guests could come hang out, have a cocktail or a glass of wine and enjoy great appetizers.”
Under the supervision of Auburn professors Paula Peek and Shari Park-Gates, five groups of interior design students competed to redesign the lounge during spring semester 2009. The Hotel’s only parameters were to increase seating and create a jazzy, comfortable atmosphere.
“One group in particular nailed it,” Van Der Reijden said. “They put together 90 percent of what you see. The other 10 percent we pulled from the other groups.”
Van Der Reijden said the name Piccolo was derived from three meanings. A piccolo is a tiny wind instrument; the smallest official size of a champagne bottle; and it also means “little one or little cousin” in Italian.
“The Piccolo instrument refers to the live jazz,” Van Der Reijden said. “The champagne bottle refers to being a lounge that serves alcohol and the ‘little one or little cousin’ meaning is a wink to Ariccia.”
In the month since it has opened, Van Der Reijden said Piccolo has made double the revenue the lounge made during the same time frame in 2008.
Piccolo is open Tuesday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to midnight, as well as Sunday and Monday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(Contributed by Natalie Nettles.)