Many restaurateurs would balk at taking over the former Davide space, a subterranean North End spot that was skewered by Gordon Ramsay on Kitchen Nightmares. But Donato Frattaroli Jr. has an ace up his sleeve: his dad. The man behind Lucia Ristorante will team up with his 28-year-old son to open Il Molo (“The Dock”), a line-to-table seafood restaurant slated to debut along the North End waterfront in late June.
“The Davide owners, they’re decent people. But the place hadn’t really changed much for decades,” the younger Frattaroli says. “The one thing everyone always said was there was great, great food down here. We’re going to keep on with that, but it’s 2016 and we have to change.”
The pair added a 12-seat bar near the entrance, and high-top tables fill the rest of the front room. In the back of the restaurant, there’s a private dining area, and the side room will have a few lounge seats near a fireplace as well as a long banquette with tables spanning the length of the wall.
The younger Frattaroli plans to keep capacity at 86—well below the 110 that zoning allows—so that customers will be comfortable. It should also provide a lighter load for a kitchen staff led by Pino Maffeo, who plans to have a mix of seafood dishes such as crispy market fish with avocado tomato salad, hay-roasted salmon and shrimp a la plancha with chilis and garlic. The menu will likely break down into sections for salads, sides, appetizers, big plates and pastas, where dishes such as spaghetti and clams might appear.
“The only definitive I can say is simple seafood, treated with respect,” says Maffeo, who hopes to emulate the hospitality the elder Frattaroli is known for at Lucia. “He’s got a really big following, and people really gravitate to him.” The younger Frattaroli adds, “We really want to tie in this area of the neighborhood with Hanover Street… sort of make it a home base spot where locals can come.”
Il Molo 326 Commercial St., Boston (857-277-1895) ilmoloboston.com