News of a Mario Batali restaurant opening in Boston first emerged in late 2012 when the orange Croc-clad chef, restaurateur, and author tweeted that "Babbopizzeria" would open "Very soon!!" ("Wheeeeeeeeee," he added.) But by August 2013, the project was officially not moving forward; the original Fort Point location didn't work out. Finally, in July 2014, Babbo Pizzeria was back on the table, this time slated for Fan Pier in the Seaport District. Tonight, April 15, 2015, it opens at 5:30.
The first two nights of business will be reserved for walk-ins, but interested diners can start calling at 4:30 p.m. today to reserve a table for Friday and beyond.
Amidst heavy Seaport construction, Babbo carves out a cozy space with warm tones throughout, from the mustard yellow napkins and ramekins to the burnt orange walls. Look up — there are a number of custom light fixtures, including several giants ones that look like spaghetti colanders. Batali's books are displayed in various nooks and crannies, as well as rows and rows of Bastianich wines. The restaurant seats 160 inside, and eventually a patio will debut, seating an additional 20 or so. There's a private dining room tucked away behind wood-paneled doors at the far end of the restaurant.
A marble-topped bar runs along the front of the restaurant, spanning most of the length of the space, and similarly marble-topped high-tops (meant for standing diners and drinkers) are located in front of the bar, offering convenient cubbies for hats, bags, and the like. At these high-tops, only a limited menu will be available — antipasti, dessert, and beverages. But everywhere else in the restaurant, including the main bar as well as the smaller antipasti and pizza bars, the full menu is up for grabs.
Babbo was designed by Batali's creative director, Lisa Eaton, in conjunction with David McMahon and McMahon Architects.
Here's a preview of the menu:
While Babbo will be open only for dinner today and tomorrow, lunch kicks off at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 17. Food will be served until midnight every day, and the bar will be open until 1 a.m. Thursday through Saturday nights. (The restaurant will be closed this Sunday and next Sunday but open daily after that.)