Conscious-eating guru Michael Pollan once advised, “Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.” Increasingly, greenmarket growers, artisanal brewers, farm-to-table restaurants, and other adherents of seasonality and craft are looking to the past as they design their menus, packaging, websites, and interiors. Tapping into the eclectic stylistic energies of the 19th century, they’ve created an antique aesthetic as contemporary as grass-fed beef.
Baroque palazzo built for the Hungarian brewer Dreher, with a grand restaurant later converted into a stock-trading floor. Across the street is Da Pepi, from 1897, one of Trieste’s Slow Food–certified eateries. Illustrating that one age’s tradition is another’s innovation, it’s an early form of fast food: a raucous kind of pork delicatessen called a buffet.