Chef Dave Kocab reports that since switching formats from Ushabu to the more casual Oni, the small Tremont restaurant is doing surprisingly well thanks to a combination of carry-out and limited dine-in business.
“It’s that fine line between keeping your business open, but being socially responsible to the community and the neighborhood,” he says. “If we saw some kind of stimulus in the works, we wouldn’t have dine-in. But it’s a necessity right now and we have to do as much as we can to be safe and conscious about it while we’re doing it.”
The business that he runs with chef-owner Matt Spinner hopefully will get another reliable revenue stream starting in January, when the team opens Conforti. Located in the adjacent space (2173 Professor Ave.), the Italian concept will be pick-up and delivery only. The small property is currently home to Freddie’s, but for the next six months at least will be the HQ for Conforti.
“Italian is something that’s always come natural to me,” adds Kocab, who previously has worked at Black Pig and Trentina. “Conforti means comfort. What we’re really trying to go for with this food is comfort. Everybody’s all stressed out; I feel like it’s a good time for something like this.”
The menu stars polenta and risotto, which will arrive sauced and garnished. Those items will be joined by grilled and roasted meats, which are designed to be eaten on or with the starches. Those proteins likely will include steak, roasted chicken and meatballs. In an intentional move to not step on any neighborhood toes, the only pasta dish will be lasagna.
“The style will be that of a communal Italian family dinner,” notes Kocab.
Look for Conforti to begin cooking in early January.