|Jeannie Hannigan of ChefLouieNight and Louis DiBiccari|
Zagat: Tell us about the space at 343 Congress Street. What’s the significance of the name and the location?
Louis DiBiccari: I’ve looked at some pretty cool neighborhoods, but at the end of the day we saw this location at Fort Point and I had this moment of clarity. My uncle, Adio DiBiccari, was a sculptor. The most famous [works] are the three sculptures: Industry, Religion and Education in Parkman Plaza. His original studio used to be on Tavern Road by the Fenway. We thought [the space] made a lot of sense for the story and what we’re trying to do. Fort Point Channel has been a hotbed for artists for decades. I’m all about the idea of innovation and the way this area is going, but this is Boston, and you can never forget your roots.
Zagat: So, while the city is calling the area the Innovation District, it’s still Fort Point Channel.
MD: We thought, let’s plant our feet in the ground and remember this was an artists’ community. So, we’ve leveraged Fort Point artists into the design element of the restaurant as well. A lot of it’s so preliminary, but I have an idea to give a few black-and-white pictures of my uncle working in his studio to the local artists and let them do a modern interpretation, and use them as mural pieces.
Zagat: Tell us about the restaurant.
MD: It will be about 110 seats, perfect for our first restaurant. The bar will seat about 14. Ryan McGrale is a super talent, he’s going to do our [beverage program]. We’ll have a spectacular open kitchen, a nice mix of banquettes, tables, booths as well as high tops around the bar.
Zagat: What’s the focus on the food?
MD: [We're] trying not to get too pigeonholed on cuisine: “Scratch cooking using seasonal ingredients.” Something I’ve been wanting to do - blow up the porchetta. I did it at Sel de la Terre a lot, it’s one of my favorite things to make. I’ll use a lot of game birds from the New England region. In designing the menu, the first thing I think of is what do I order when I go out? Sweetbreads. And we’ll have a rotisserie to spit-roast whole brids, suckling pigs. Whatever works, we’ll stick with it; if it doesn’t, we’ll go back to the drawing board. The average check will be about $38 per person for entrees, including a glass of wine and a shared plate.
Zagat: And dessert?
MD: I’m a fanatic for ice cream sundaes and cookies, so we’ll do adult ice cream sundaes. When I go to DBGB in New York I’ll get a sausage and two ice cream sundaes.
Zagat: Tell us about your take-out lunch space next door.
MD: It’ll be open seven days, and we’re calling it TR Street Food, our own version of street food based on the menu from Tavern Road for that day. I’ve done a lot of traveling in Mexico, Spain, Italy, France, Peru, New Orleans - and I’ll do an interpretation of what I see. It’s strictly grab-and-go, with a rough range between $9-$12.
Zagat: When can we expect to see you open?
MD: This winter, mid- to late-January.
Zagat: What about Storyville, where you’re currently at?
MD: Jimmy Wayland, he’ll take over and the food program will remain what we started. But I’m here.