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Owner Nicki Rivieccio grew up in Torre del Greco, near Naples, and is on a mission to bring authentic Italian cafe culture Stateside. For him, it's all about the freshness. In the basement below PIQ (pronounced "peek"), master bakers headed by former soccer star Rufo Verga start work at 2 a.m. every day and use imported machines to create an ever-shifting array of sweets and savories stuffed and topped with seasonal produce, meats, eggs, and cheese: lofty focaccia Valdostana, pocketlike fazzoletti, gleaming panini, savory briochi, surprisingly light calzone, sometimes chewy and sometimes melt-in-your-mouth thin-crusted pizza — and that's even before we reach the pastry case, which holds glorious fruit tarts, nut tarts, cookies, cakes, and more.

— Anneli Rufus

Hours: Mon.-Thu. 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri. 6:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sat. 9 a.m.-10:30 p.m.; Sun. 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Price: $

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards.

Seasonal produce is emphasized.

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