Restaurateur Nick Frattaroli won’t be shying away from his red-sauce roots for much longer. The owner of Ward 8, North Square Oyster and Bodega Canal is set to grow his domain at the end of November with the addition of Tony & Elaine’s, a tongue-in-cheek take on old-school Italian eateries. Named for his parents—both servers in the North End for more than 20 years—the restaurant will showcase Frattaroli’s spin on the red-sauce-soaked scene.
“Growing up in this city, around this neighborhood, these dishes are what I like to eat at home. It’s comfort to me,” Frattaroli says. “Even though there’s so many Italian-American restaurants in the North End, we still feel there’s a real place for how we see this type of food and design.”
Filling the 50-seat space across from Ward 8, Tony & Elaine’s was designed by longtime Frattaroli collaborator Justin Power, who used wood-paneled walls, stained-glass lights and red-and-white checkered tablecloths to evoke a ’70s vibe. The lower level will offer a more intimate atmosphere, with moody lighting and red leather booths.
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“There’s a lot of familiarity and nostalgia in Italian-American food,” Power says. “It’s the same with the design. We’re trying to be comfortable and familiar, yet elevated and exciting.”
Helmed by chef Eric Buonagurio, the kitchen will serve lunch and dinner with the traditional menu sections for antipasti, appetizers and entrees. Smaller bites will include options like the “North End’s Best Meatballs,” which taps Buonagurio’s family recipe and features two oversized meatballs cooked in housemade Italian red sauce. Entrees include red-sauce staples like chicken Parmesan served with a side of pasta, as well as housemade lobster ravioli in a vodka sauce. The beverage program will include an all-Italian wine list and craft beers imported from Italy, as well as amari and digestivos.
“What we’re trying to do here is be the place that when people ask, ‘What’s your favorite restaurant in the North End?,’ this is first place that comes to mind,” Frattaroli says. “We’re doing something a little different here that’s really fun, so you can bring people from all different areas and still impress them.”
Tony & Elaine’s 111 N. Washington St., Boston tonyandelaines.com