Renovations are nearly complete at Marotta’s Bar-Risto and owner Chris Marotta he’ll be open for business this coming week.
He shut down in January to start the overhaul. The final details are still being checked off, and when they’re done, the doors open.
“We freshened up a lot of paint, replaced a lot of flooring,” Marotta said Thursday. Monday is the target date for re-opening but he was not sure everything would be moved back in and ready in time.
Bar-Risto, a row building in the restaurant district that has developed on lower Union Street, is bigger than it might seem from the outside: It can seat 60 people inside on the first floor and 80 on the second floor. The two levels are themed differently. Marotta described the first floor as a soft-lighted Old World Italian atmosphere while the second floor is the Tunnel Lounge, with a more modern bistro atmosphere illuminated by LED lighting.
There’s also a patio.
Along with the physical changes, some of the food has changed. It’s still an Italian menu, Marotta said, but “We’ve taken away some items that we thought could be improved or replaced. We’re sticking with our core staples, dishes that we’re known for, customer favorites.”
He said the wood-burning pizza oven will be getting more use, too.
“We’re adding some menu items that are not pizza that will be cooked in that pizza oven.”
Among them, Marotta said, will be wood-fired Sicilian chicken wings.
He wanted to keep some of his new menu as a surprise, but offered two other previews: a New York strip steak stuffed with crab and shrimp; and arancini ambra — rice and sausage rolled in a ball in panko, lightly fried and served with pesto.
While Bar-Risto was closed, Marotta became a partner in the Social House, a restaurant at the new entertainment venue in ViaPort Rotterdam, the former Rotterdam Square mall.
He said he’ll continue in that role as Bar-Risto reopens.
Reach business editor John Cropley at 395-3104, [email protected] or @cropjohn on Twitter.