It’s the end of an era. The New York Times announced today that Torrisi, the famed two-star restaurant and flagship of the Torrisi/Carbone fleet, will soon close. But don’t panic just yet. Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi plan on turning the intimate, lace-curtained spot into an intimate 15-seat dining experience this spring. Meaning that yes, Torrisi’s replacement will be at least 20 percent more difficult to get into (there are about 20 seats now).
“Once we opened Parm, our idea for this place evolved,” said Jeff Zalaznick, a partner in Major Food Group with Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone to The New York Times. “We met our goal in the beginning, but then a dream for the space took hold. It will offer more comfort for our customers. There may be a tasting menu, but we plan to serve à la carte.”
It should also be noted that this marks the complete transformation of the original concept that made Torrisi a hit in the first place. Originally, Torrisi became a hit for offering high-end Italian-American dishes at reasonable (some might say considering the qualtiy, bargain) prices. Now, the signature outposts of the Major Food Group empire belie a more exclusive experience and at no insignificant cost (à la Carbone and Dirty French, their newest venture).
Fortunately, those hankering for the original concept can still find traces of it at the ever-increasing number of Parm locations. A new location is scheduled to open on the Upper West Side in December.
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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi