Jason Cichonski and Chip Roman Open Ela on Friday

Jason Cichonski
Jason Cichonski Photo: Jason Varney

Just as one might expect, Jason Cinchonski is anxious about the debut of his restaurant Ela, the Chip Roman backed project that’s been coming together over the past four months in the former home of Ansill at 3rd and Bainbridge streets. With all systems a go, it will begin seating guests on Friday. But the pressure hardly fazes the 27-year-old chef. He just wants to open and start cooking. “I’m stressed out but its a good stress,” Cichonski told Grub Street. “Its the kind of stress that if you live and work in kitchens, you pretty much thrive on it.”

Fresh from helping partner Chip Roman open Mica in Chestnut Hill back in March, Cichonski said he took on a much more ambitious role with Ela, doing the majority of the work himself. Of course electricians and plumbers did the wiring and pipes, and Stephen Starr’s preferred architect Richard Stokes did the major design work. But just about everything else Cichonski and a small handful of volunteers handled themselves. He said Labor Day was his last day off, and since then he’s been putting in 15 to 18 hour days. “I’m so handy now,” Cichonski joked. “I’ll make a great husband.”

Though reluctant to give his style of cooking a hackneyed description, when pressed he offers American progressive. He quickly explains that the dishes will be approachable and not limited to a technique or cultural perspective.

“It’s not like its progressive as in we’re trying to do the weirdest shit you’ve never heard of,” he added.

The menu will feature a large selection of small plates and larger entrees, as well as bar snacks. Though he expects to make frequent changes to the menu, some possible dishes include hamachi with green apple, horseradish and truffles; baby beets with brie, quince and cardamom; sweet potato soup with porcini and coffee caramel; foie gras with parsley root, ginger bread and huckleberry; diver scallops served with root vegetables, blood oranges and black sesame; duck Magret with pretzel spaetzle, Brussels sprouts and smoked butternut squash puree; and pork belly with broccoli rabe, pears and served with a sour dough risotto. Prices will range from $8 to $23.

The bar will pour six draught beers, primarily local and craft selections and will offer another 25 bottles. Cichonski, who until recently proudly practiced a straight edge lifestyle, developed the cocktail list which includes Sowing Season, Laphroaig whiskey, Yards Love Stout beer, amaretto and maraschino liquor; Jude Law and A Semester Abroad, Bluecoat Gin, burnt sugar sage syrup, absinthe, lemon juice and club soda; and Jaws Theme Swimming, cedar martini with toasted cedar wood, vodka, Lillet blanc, sweet vermouth and garnished with a cerignola olive. Twenty domestic and imported wines will be available by the glass, thanks in part to the 16-bottle Cruvinet system Cichonski found in the building’s basement.

Ela, 627 South Third St., (267) 687-8512

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Jason Cichonski and Chip Roman Open Ela on Friday