Monday, February 21, 2011 at 11:51AM
I sat down with Fornino Park Slope's managing partner Chris Walsh over the weekend, and we had a chance to discuss the recent ownership shakeup as well as some upcoming changes to the restaurant.
The most important issue discussed was the recent departure of founder and owner Michael Ayoub. "It was completely amicable, there's no hard feelings," Walsh said. "Dave Kearns bought Michael out. He was General Manager at Porter House for six years and at Judson Grill for seven years before that." Frank Ayoub, Michael's brother, is still co-owner, along with Walsh and Kearns.
They've also rolled out an exciting new cocktail program, custom-designed by James Menite, the renowned mixologist who's also the bartender there every night but Tuesday and Sunday. The cocktail menu will be updated a few times a year to incorporate seasonal ingredients, and the wine bottles decorating the area behind the bar will soon be replaced by unusual spirits to highlight the shift in focus. There's also some thought being given to making the wine list Italian-only.
For those who aren't a fan of the restaurant's decor, you'll be happy to hear that there's also a renovation of the bar area in store. According to Walsh, they'll be making it more "funky," with designs by Revamp on Flatbush Avenue.
If you've noticed recently that their grilled pizzas have gone from oval to round, there's a reason behind that, too. "The round pizza delivers," said Walsh. "We couldn't fit the oval one in a box. We're considering splitting the pizza menu in half, and letting diners decide if they want it round or Vinnie-style." (Vinnie-style refers to the oval pies served by Walsh's former partner at Scopa, the late Vinnie Scotto.)