Sicilian Eatery Brelundi Opens in Waltham
Brelundi, a new Sicilian restaurant in Waltham, opens its doors today offering a robust assortment of street bites and dishes inspired by owner Michael Colomba’s southern Italian upbringing. The 20-seat counter service and takeout establishment located at 16 Felton Street serves Italian breakfast, lunch, and dinner items (hence the name of the restaurant), along with a full suite of desserts, gelato, sodas, and coffees. From frittatas and panelle to lasagnas and tiramisu, the objective remains the same: quality ingredients and simple, classic preparations.
At first glance, Colomba, a career builder and developer, seems a curious candidate to open a restaurant. But having traveled extensively for work domestically, as well as overseas, the native of Castellamarre del Golfo accumulated a number of great culinary experiences, something he was determined to bring back to Boston.
Prior to the restaurant’s opening, Colomba toured Italy talking to chefs and restaurateurs, taking careful stock of what it would take to bring true Italian food to Waltham. Every dish is thoroughly researched and reworked until it meets his exacting standards, whether it’s the perfect eggplant parmesan or Brelundi’s house-baked breads such as the signature ciabatta/French roll hybrid.
Brelundi’s arancini, for example, is the result of tutelage under arancini guru Leonardo LoTurco, a man famous for making over 3,000 a day on cruise ships docking in coastal Taormina, Sicily.
“He was so obsessed,” Colomba says. “If you don’t use the right rice it will split in half; a simple grain broken is unacceptable. If you don’t press it enough or too much it doesn’t stay. You make it, let it rest. Seal it so you don’t absorb the oil. We went through the entire process.”
Besides LoTurco’s expertise, Colomba has also hired a principal staff with Italian roots, combining heritage with years of restaurant experience. Head chef Sandro Calidona’s grandfather was the original owner of Al Capone’s pizza in the North End, and the restaurant’s pastry chef was hand-picked by Colomba’s cousin in Sicily.
To create a more personable and efficient customer service experience, Brelundi will soon introduce its “Brelundi Important Patron” [BIP] program, which will allow guests to build an online profile detailing their individual food preferences. “I want to have a relationship with my clients,” Colomba says. “I respect the restaurant owners that accommodate me. Why can’t every person have that privilege?”
A second Brelundi location is already under construction in the Watch City space at 185 Crescent Street. The dine-in-focused concept, projected to open in May, will have 50 indoor seats as well as a patio that can seat 35 guests. Colomba says that if the first two restaurants do well, he’ll be looking to expand the Brelundi brand in the near future.