About

La Taverna

Opened late June 2012, Macchialina, located at 820 Alton Road in the heart of South Beach’s residential west side community, has quickly become a favorite Italian restaurant among critics, locals and in-the-know tourists, who flock to the casual neighborhood eatery to indulge in chef/owner Michael Pirolo’s rustic yet sophisticated, Italian fare.

Macchialina began racking up accolades almost immediately, such as a 3½ star Excellent rating from The Miami Herald, a stellar review, as well as Best Restaurant 2013 by the Miami New Times, all in its first year. Pirolo and his team at Macchialina have taken the city by storm. Now heralded as the most starred chef working in Miami, Chef Pirolo continues to garner praise for his soulful, Italian food.

Don’t miss Macchialina’s Pasta Thursday’s – all of our handmade pasta is only $10 all night long. Reservations strongly suggested. RESERVE

Michael Pirolo, Executive Chef/Managing Partner

Born in Queens, New York, but raised in Avellino, Italy, James Beard Semi Finalist Chef Pirolo comes from a fiercely passionate food family. So much, in fact, that at the age of 21 he enrolled in culinary school in Torino, Italy; a formal education that led to apprenticeships at Michelin-starred establishments such as La Voglia Matta in Bologna and Café Groppi in Piemonte. After finishing his degree, he relocated to New York and changed tracks, immersing himself in French cuisine before relocating to Philadelphia to take the role of sous chef at Alfred Portale’s Striped Bass, where he met Chaefsky. A friendship turned to romance and when Pirolo had the opportunity to return to New York to take a post at Chris Lee’s Gilt at the Palace Hotel, Chaefsky went with him.

During Pirolo’s time at Gilt, the restaurant earned two Michelin stars. Following his love of Italian cuisine and striking up a professional bond with celeb chef/restauranteur Scott Conant, Pirolo joined Conant’s Scarpetta restaurant in New York, then relocated to Miami to take the helm as chef de cuisine of Scarpetta at Fontainebleau Miami Beach. There, Pirolo made a name for himself and rose through the media ranks as a rising star in Miami’s culinary community, an earnest, hard-working, careerist “chef’s chef.” A rare 4-star review from Miami Herald food critic Victoria Pesce Elliot helped elevate his profile and set the stage for Pirolo to move out on his own. He opened Macchialina with Chaefsky on Miami Beach’s Alton Road in 2012.

Jennifer Chaefsky, Managing Partner

Philadelphia raised, Chaefsky enjoyed A-list entry in to the culinary profession. Fueled only by a burning passion for food and hospitality, she cut her teeth in restaurants operated by one of that city’s foremost culinary icons, Stephen Starr. Under the Starr banner she learned the ins and outs of the business, especially the arts and sciences behind management. She later went on to work with Chefs Alfred Portale and Masaharu Morimoto at their Philadelphia outposts.

In 2012, after nearly a decade together personally, Chaefsky teamed up with Michael Pirolo on a business venture and Macchialina was born.

Jacqueline Pirolo, Managing Partner/Beverage Director

Jacqueline Pirolo isn’t one to shy away from hard work. Though she never intended to pursue a career in the restaurant industry, she became determined to focus her efforts on building a family business, inspired by her native cuisine and her upbringing both at home and abroad.

Born in Italy, Pirolo grew up stateside in an Italian household with three older brothers. A graduate of the State University of New York at Oswego with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing, she began waiting tables at a lively Italian eatery with a Tuscan ambience; her first foray into the world of fine dining. Though she briefly switched careers, becoming Production Coordinator at the Gravity Visual Effects House, Pirolo soon returned to the restaurant industry in 2011, when she and her brothers opened The Saint Austere in Brooklyn, New York where she serves as owner and general manager.

Featuring updates on classic European dishes, seasonal ingredients, and an extensive wine program, Pirolo has overseen every detail of The Saint Austere since its inception. Her skillful management of a flourishing team and clientele was a credit to the restaurant’s overwhelming success.

In her newest role, Pirolo oversees the beverage program as well as day-to-day operations of the award-winning rustic Italian eatery, Macchialina.

Ruggero Vittorini, Chef de Cuisine

Born in Rome, Italy to an American mother and Italian father, Ruggero Vittorini comes from a family of artists. Surrounded by poets and writers, to film directors and musicians, Ruggero was raised on a steady diet of creative stimulus. At the age of 13, he migrated to the United States with his family. He studied and pursued a music career, spending several years composing and performing. When he turned 23, he moved to New York City in search of new horizons.

Ruggero began working in the food industry to help support his artistic endeavors, which quickly resulted in the development of his own passion for cooking. He fell in love with the culinary arts and quickly began to climb the ranks as a line cook for Michele Iuliano, eventually earning the role of sous chef at Ovest in Manhattan. Two years later, he was offered the head chef position, opening of Luzzo’s Brooklyn, a cozy spot for Neapolitan-style pizza and soulful, southern Italian cuisine located on bustling Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn Heights. Ruggero seized the opportunity to hone his craft, creating his first menu and learning how to run a kitchen.

A few years later he took on the role of executive sous chef at Babbalucci in Harlem where he worked for the remainder of his time in NYC. In 2016, Ruggero joined Stephen Starr and Justin Smillie for the opening of Upland in Miami Beach. There he worked alongside Alex Lee, Sebastian Rouxel, Francis Derby, and many other seasoned food makers, which helped him polish his style and redefine his role as a chef.

Ruggero now joins Macchialina as Chef de Cuisine and is thrilled at the opportunity to work alongside talented James Beard Award Semifinalist, Executive Chef Michael Pirolo and his esteemed team at the beloved Miami Beach neighborhood restaurant.