Trattoria Centrale (formerly Za Za Trattoria) is a casual Italian restaurant located at 207-A 20th Street North in the Frank Nelson Building in downtown Birmingham. It was opened in the space formerly occupied by Roma Italian Bistro in June 2009 by Brian Somershield and Geoff Lockert, childhood friends from Chagrin Falls, Ohio.
Somershield came to Birmingham in 2004 after graduating from culinary school. He had dined at Highlands Bar and Grill during a vacation on the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail and knew that he wanted to work for chef Frank Stitt. He spent two years at Highlands and then became head sous chef at Chez Fonfon in 2006. Lockert also spent some time as a server at Fonfon before continuing his training at Michael Symon's Lola restaurant in Cleveland.
The restaurant opened with the name "Za Za", using Cleveland-area slang for "pizza". They changed the name in January 2010 to avoid a future legal fight with Montgomery's "Sa Za" which has tentative plans to franchise statewide.
Trattoria Centrale features a selection of fresh pizzas (served by the slice), pasta dishes and salads each day, as well as a daily hot special. The line-up varies seasonally featuring locally-sourced ingredients. Breakfast options include omelets and frittati as well as fresh fruit, hash browns and baked goods. An evening meal is now served on Fridays. Coffee drinks, made with Higher Ground coffees and Wright's Dairy milk, are prepared on a 3-foot tall copper-clad Italian espresso machine.
Lockert and Somershield sold the business to long-time employees Erica Schmidt and Bryan Stanfield, effective October 12, 2015. In February 2019 the restaurant closed for remodeling and expansion, concurrent with Orchestra Partners' redevelopment of the Frank Nelson Building as "The Frank". After reopening, Trattoria Centrale began offering dinner service.
- Carlton, Bob (June 26, 2009) "Two childhood friends open Za Za Trattoria in downtown Birmingham." The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (January 31, 2010) "Za Za Trattoria is now Trattoria Centrale." The Birmingham News
- Lippeatt, Lauren (February 22, 2010) "Risky Small Business - Part II - ZaZa... or... Trattoria Centrale." Pavo
- Horn, Jason (March 28, 2011) "Ten spots: To get a good cup of joe." B-Metro
- Carlton, Bob (October 12, 2015) "Downtown Birmingham restaurant Trattoria Centrale sold." The Birmingham News
- Rebman, Stephanie (February 8, 2019) "Popular downtown Bham restaurant closes for renovations." Birmingham Business Journal
- Trattoria Centrale website