The Tarry Lodge â€” the pizzeria and trattoria under renovation and owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, Nancy Selzer and Andy Nusser â€” will open on Mill Street in Port Chester in early September, Nusser said yesterday.
The restaurant, designed by Lisa Eaton, will have â€œdark wood floors, light wood walls and a old-world comfort,â€ Nusser said. The menu will offer pizzas from a wood-burning oven, pastas, antipasti and entrees. There will also be an all-Italian wine list â€” with many selections available by the quartino, or small carafe â€” and a large selection of cheese.
Nusser, who chatted with me at his Bar Jamon in Manhattan yesterday, said the cooking will be Roman- and Neapolitan-style, but with a twist.
â€œSo Iâ€™ll have pizza on the menu,â€ he said. â€œBut in September, it will be pizza with heirloom tomatoes, burrata and opal basil.â€
Other signature dishes include Fusilli ala Crazy Bastard (fusilli with garlic, roasted cherry tomatoes, beet greens, goat cheese and walnuts) and asparagus Milanse. He also mentioned gnocchi, ravioli, fresh pastas, grilled fish and meats for two.
The style is similar to Pizzeria Mozza, which Batali and Bastianich opened with chef Nancy Silverton in Los Angeles in 2006, and Otto, the pizzeria they own on Eighth Street in Manhattan.
â€œOtto is a big place â€” more an enoteca wine bar,â€ says Bastianich, whom I spoke with by phone Tuesday. â€œThis will be more like a saloon (or tavern) feel, like Mozza.â€
Nusser, who will be the chef at the Tarry Lodge, started cooking with Mario Batali at Po, Bataliâ€™s first restaurant in Greenwich Village. The two then opened Babbo, Marioâ€™s flagship Italian restaurant, which introduced many New Yorkers to offal and Italian peasant cooking. Batali went on to stardom at the Food Network. Five years later, Batali, Bastianich, Nusser and Selzer opened Casa Mono and Bar Jamon on Irving Place, which focused on tapas and Spanish cooking. Batali and Bastianich also own more than a dozen other high-profile restaurants, and Bastianich also owns Italian Wine Merchants, an importing company.
So why, with a Batali-Bastianich empire already well established, are they heading to the â€˜burbs?
â€œWeâ€™re getting older,â€ laughs Nusser. â€œPlus, I think weâ€™re really needed up here.â€
â€œItâ€™s like a retirement plan for chefs,â€ says Bastianich. Nusser lives in Hastings-on-Hudson with his wife, Patty, and commutes to Casa Mono. Bastianich lives in Greenwich.
But why Port Chester, specifically?
Mostly the reach for the clientele, says Nusser. Itâ€™s bigger than the rivertowns and more connected to other communities.
â€œItâ€™s the best restaurant location in Greenwich,â€ says Bastianich. â€œItâ€™s where people from Greenwich go out to eat. So why pay Greenwich rent if everyoneâ€™s going to Port Chester?â€
And Bastianich should know. As a Greenwich resident, he frequents places like the Kneaded Bread, Pieroâ€™s and Nessa.
The group decided to keep the name Tarry Lodge out of nostalgia.
â€œEverybody know it â€” everyoneâ€™s been there.â€ says Bastianich.
Plus, says Nusser, thereâ€™s the word tarry â€” which means to linger.
After there was a fire in fall, 2005, the restaurant was put up for auction. Bastianich bought the building for $1.378 million. At first, Nusser couldnâ€™t see the vision, he says. Now that the restaurant is nearing its renovation â€” new kitchen, perfect walls, beautiful floors â€” he gets goosebumps.
Nusser says youâ€™ll walk into a bar with a tavern feel. There will be tables in a lounge and more dining upstairs.
An adventerous diner will be able to make a lengthy meal, which might include antipasti, sharing a pizza, sharing a pasta, moving on to an entree and ending with cheese and dessert.
â€œBut thatâ€™s not everybody,â€ says Nusser, who will still remain chef at Casa Mono. â€œThereâ€™ll be the guy who just wants to come in a have a pizza.â€ A pizza with heirloom tomatoes, burrata and opal basil, that is.
The Tarry Lodge, 18 Mill St., Port Chester. No phone yet.
Mario Batiali’s Partner Purchases Port Chester Restaurant. (3/6/2007)
The News on the Joe Bastianich Property (8/31/2007)
Mario Batali Restaurant in Westchester Looking for Cooks (1/27/2008)
Batali in the Burbs (1/30/2008)
A Look Inside the Former Tarry Lodge (4/25/2008)
More Buzz on the Former Tarry Lodge; Rumors Are It’s Going To Be Like Mozza and Otto (5/19/08)
Julia Catches Up with Joe Bastinaich, Who Says The Tarry Lodge Will Be A Roman-style pizzeria, sort of like Mozza in LA. (6/2/2008)