Fornino opened on Fifth Avenue between Garfield and Carroll Streets with much fanfare in early 2010, and the triple-wide storefront, home to a bar area, main dining room, and take-out (later Polpette) sections made it one of the largest restaurants in the neighborhood, by far. It was incredibly popular when it opened, in the space that was originally home to former owner Michael Ayoub's first restaurant, Cucina, it for a time appeared to anchor the avenue's Restaurant Row, along with Al Di La.
A couple weeks ago, however, the restaurant unexpectedly closed up, and while signs in the front windows said that they'd be closed "for renovations [until February 4th] so we can gussie up the old doll," it hasn't reopened since, the tables are still set, and it appears as if no gussying up has actually taken place.
As with any business that closes "for renovations" but never actually does any, rumors are swirling. Supposedly the entire staff walked off the job last week, but I haven't been able to independently verify that.
There are a couple interesting details to report, though: One, the website is down (never a good sign), even though the phone line isn't, and two, a call to the Williamsburg Fornino, which isn't officially connected to this one any more, revealed that the hostess "heard that they're closed for good," but she couldn't elaborate further.
So what exactly is going on at Fornino? If anyone has heard any definitive facts, leave them in the comments section below. But with no confirmation one way or the other, I have a feeling this will be one of those "wait and see" situations. And while I don't want to come out and call this one closed for good without 100% proof, I have a very strong feeling that they've served their last grilled pizza.