Just over two months ago, Interstate Kitchen & Bar owners Andre and Aaron Lobato and Joey Newman quietly took over the Mona's space on South Broadway to build Crimson Canary, their second restaurant in the Baker neighborhood.
They weren't going for a second tricked-out roadhouse, though. "It's our version of Italian American," Newman said at the time. "We're drawing from the Mafioso era of great Italian food but done more at a superlative, hip level. This is not your usual red sauce kind of place. It's kind of like what we do here at Interstate applied to this type of food."
After a remodel to turn the place into a swanky hide-out a la 1970s-era Italian steakhouses, the guys are getting ready to open their new haunt next week.
And, as promised, their opening board isn't just a pedestrian list of red sauce Italian. The menu features pumpkin and pear soup, bread salad, roasted game hen and buffalo osso bucco. A few classics made the cut, too, channeled in a hot steak sandwich with giardiniera and eggplant Parmesan. A long list of salumi supplements everything else on the menu. And for dessert? Spumoni, tiramisu and New York-style cheesecake.
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The partners are adamant that their place become as much of a drinking destination as a dinner stop, so they've also put together a long list of libations that fit the theme. Cocktails are heavily Italian liqueur focused -- as are the housemade cellos -- and they're complemented by a mostly Italian wine list and beers from all over the globe (though Moretti and Peroni certainly have a place). There's also, of course, a grappa section.
The guys are hoping to hold a soft opening early next week, but that may not happen: "We're on a truncated schedule because our construction was a little delayed," says Aaron Lobato. "So our soft opening may go by the wayside. We'll definitely be open to the public by Thursday."
The restaurant will hold a grand opening sometime after that.