Orfano, chef and restaurateur Tiffani Faison’s upscale-yet-quirky ode to red-sauce Italian American cuisine, closed after service yesterday, June 30. Faison’s team confirms the news and notes that fans can look forward to updates on other Fenway projects from her restaurant group, Big Heart Hospitality, soon, including the new project in her former Tiger Mama space down the street (1363 Boylston Street, Boston) and the full reopening of “adult snack bar” Fool’s Errand (1377 Boylston Street, Boston), which has been mostly used as an event space during parts of the pandemic.
Orfano debuted a little under three years ago and spent a portion of 2020 and 2021 on hiatus due to the pandemic, but when it was open, it charmed fans with its martini cart, swanky but a little irreverent decor, and fancy twists on classic red-sauce cuisine. It was “a triumphant modern take on Italian,” per the headline of a February 2020 restaurant review by Jolyon Helterman in Boston magazine.
It landed on Eater Boston’s “best dishes of the week” roundup a couple times due to its excellent pasta dishes, particularly the lobster bucatini, “with generous chunks of lobster and a silky richness that was fully satisfying,” and several other local food writers gave it a shout-out as one of the best meals and best newcomers of the year in Eater Boston’s 2019 year-end surveys. As one local writer, Eric Twardzik, put it: “Orfano resurrected the glamour of old-school fancy Italian — waiters in white jackets, martini carts, comically large pepper mills — while serving dishes that were instantly recognizable by name yet fresh and exciting in their execution.”
This closure leaves barbecue joint Sweet Cheeks Q, Faison’s first restaurant, as her only one fully up and running in the Fenway neighborhood at the moment, with the Tiger Mama replacement and the full reopening of Fool’s Errand still to come, as noted above. But she’s been quite busy on other fronts, operating three businesses at downtown Boston’s new food hall, High Street Place, and appearing on a variety of Food Network shows as judge, co-host, and competitor, from Chopped to Guy’s Grocery Games.
Faison and her team are still keeping quiet about what exactly will be going into the Tiger Mama space, but stay tuned for updates, and in the meantime, go drink some Champagne, eat some old-school pizza, and try some “supafries” at Big Heart Hospitality venues at High Street Place.