A new Italian restaurant called Topolina is under development by chef Michael Bergin.

I started working in restaurants as a dishwasher 23 years ago and have been working feverishly on building my craft ever since. I believe my time has come to tell my story and I am eager to express my passion for Italian cuisine to Portland and beyond. I’m earnest in my belief that what I have to tell through food, and the experience I want to curate, is something unique and considerable. The fundamental lessons I learned as a dishwasher, and eventually working in Michelin-rated restaurants, as well as my memories of sharing meals with my Grandfather have all made me who I am today. I can’t imagine a better way to pay it forward than to share similar feelings of nostalgia, simplicity, and warmth with my neighbors. More than ever, I want this restaurant to bring friends and families back to the dinner table. What is a better facilitator for that than a house-made bowl of pasta? I hope that our humble, sincere Italian restaurant will be this escape for people.

Bergin grew up in Massachusetts where he got introduced to the culinary world while working with his grandfather at the family business Noe & Sons Produce. He’s worked in Washington DC, Boston and New York at a number of highly regarded restaurants including L’Espalier, Del Posto, and Coppa. Prior to moving to Portland he was the executive chef at The Fat Hen and at The Salty Pig in Boston. Bergin is currently part of the team at the Big Tree Hospitality group in Portland.

A launch date for Topolina (which means ‘little mouse’ in Italian) is still TBD. Bergin has set-up a $10k crowdfunding campaign to help defray some of the development costs for the restaurant.