For 25 years, the regional Papa Razzi chain of restaurants has been a dependable purveyor of tasty—if less than cutting-edge—Italian food. More than a year after it was bought by Newport Harbor Corporation, however, it’s undergoing a rebranding and renovation to morph into Papa Razzi Metro. Recently unveiled at the Burlington location, PR Metro includes an Italian menu from culinary arts director Kevin DiLibero that’s more in line with modern trends.
The new menu includes Neapolitan pizzas (authenticated by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana) such as the forest mushroom pie with truffle-scented ricotta and the black fig pizza with dolce gorgonzola, prosciutto and baby arugula. A full menu of housemade desserts is available, but the sbrisolona is a true hit, in more ways than one. The giant crumbly cookie is made from almonds and cornmeal; when your waiter gives its center one smack, it breaks into dozens of small pieces to be enjoyed with a pick from the extensive coffee program or an Italian spirit such as housemade figcello and limoncello.
The dramatic overhaul by designer Peter Niemitz includes an interior that boasts private dining upstairs, a marble-topped salumi bar, an open kitchen and a custom-made Marra Forni oven. The outside terrace has its own bar and extensive partially covered patio seating.
Within the next two years, the five other Papa Razzi locations—in Wellesley, Concord, Boston, Framingham and Cranston, Rhode Island—will be converted into Papa Razzi Metros. And while Newport Harbor Corporation may be an unfamiliar name to Bostonians, it has quite a track record with its Newport Restaurant Group in Rhode Island, including standouts such as 22 Bowen’s and the Castle Hill Inn, a Relais & Chateaux property in Newport.