During his time as general manager of Rosso Uptown, Michael Tizzano frequently fielded requests from patrons for dishes popular at Brio and Romantico, his earlier restaurants in the Port Washington area.
“The people were like, ‘why don’t you bring back dishes from [those] old restaurants?'” Tizzano recalled. “And so I thought maybe rebranding wouldn’t be such a bad idea.”
So Tizzano decided to change things up at his restaurant on Main Street in Port Washington. The new restaurant will have a variety of southern Italian fare that Tizzano made popular at his old restaurants and grew up eating on the Italian island of Capri.
For Tizzano, the rebranding efforts offers a chance to show Port Washington that the restaurant is more than just a place for pizza.
“I think with [Rosso Uptown] people thought we were just a pizzeria,” he said. “We are more than a pizzeria, we are more like contemporary Italian.”
With the opening of Brick Osteria, both the restaurant and the menu are receiving a makeover. It is not a complete change – the restaurant will still serve pizza and retain the brick oven that it is cooked in – but the menu has branched out to include dishes that were popular in the past.
Pasta dishes like bucatini cacio e pepe ($16) and paccheri with guanciale (an Italian cured meat) and fava beans ($16) were popular at Tizzano’s old restaurants and have returned for Brick Osteria. Other popular dishes include braised lamb shank ($24) and scallops with Gorgonzola risotto ($26). There is also a variety of meatball appetizers called polpette ($11) that are topped with ingredients ranging from mozzarella to prosciutto to eggplant.
Another dish that Tizzano singled out was le quadrate ($27), a Roman-style flatbread similar to pizza that has a dough infused with rosemary and pink Himalayan salt.
But the biggest change to the restaurant, and the change that Tizzano said he was most excited about, is physical. Brick Osteria will stick to the rustic theme of Rosso Uptown, but a new bar will be installed where the pizza counter once was. Although Rosso Uptown sold alcohol, Tizzano said customers were often unaware of this because they assumed it was just a pizzeria.
“Probably because it was a pizzeria, people never got that we had a liquor license,” he said. “With the bar, when you walk in and see a bar, you know the place serves alcohol.”
The bar will offer beer, wine and the lunch menu during happy hour. Tizzano also said that the bar will offer small plates that will be less expensive than the sit-down menu.
Tizzano runs Brick Osteria with the restaurant’s owner, Massimo Gammella. The duo also operate Pepe Rosso 24 on Manorhaven Boulevard.