Babbo Pizzeria, a restaurant now two years in the making, will finally open its doors tonight on Boston’s Fan Pier in the waterfront Innovation District. Mario Batali’s B&B Hospitality Group’s first restaurant in the city, Babbo Pizzeria occupies more than 8,700 square feet in the ground floor of 11 Fan Pier Boulevard and has three bars for dining—for pizza, antipasti, and cocktails, respectively—a patio, and seating for up to 180 guests.
Within the context of Batali’s 25-restaurant empire, which he co-owns with famed restaurateur Joe Bastianich, Babbo Pizzeria shares the most in common with Otto Enoteca Pizzeria in New York’s Greenwich Village. The casual, affordable restaurant features plenty of shareable small plates, Italian tapas (eggplant caponata), house-made pastas (rigatoni cacio e pepe), Italian cheeses, and sliced-to-order charcuterie from Salumi Artisan Cured Meats, Armandino Batali’s (Mario’s father) salumeria in Seattle.
Babbo Pizzeria’s flagship Neapolitan-style pizzas, cooked for 90 seconds in a 1,000-degree wood-burning oven, are a product that was first developed by executive chef Mario LaPosta at Batali’s Tarry Lodge in Port Chester, New York. Soon after it opened in 2008, Tarry Lodge was named among the best pizzerias in the country by GQ’s Alan Richman.
“Babbo Ristorante in New York is a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant, it’s a place where you want to enjoy a really expensive bottle of wine, an appetizer, and an entree, and have this special once-in-a-while experience,” LaPosta says. “Whereas Babbo Pizzeria here in Boston is all about the wood-fired pizzas, fritti, and gelato; it’s the essence of real Italian table where you’re sitting around with friends and family and sharing multiple things.”
In addition to LaPosta’s pizzas, topped with everything from guanciale to pistachios and goat cheese, Babbo Pizzeria will have a focus on grilled entrees like their skewered tuna, swordfish, and saltimbocca spiedino. Other standouts on the menu include an oven-roasted duck leg in agrodolce and the gnocchi oxtail, LaPosta’s favorite dish from Babbo New York.
Heading up the front of the house is general manager Caroline Conrad, a graduate of Boston University’s School of Hospitality Administration. Conrad is a Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group veteran who helped open Eataly Chicago after five years at Otto in New York.
Babbo will open for dinner on Wednesday, April 15. Beginning Thursday, the restaurant will serve food daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. The bar will remain open until 1 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
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