This morning, news broke that Michael White and Ahmass Fakahany had signed the lease on the former Centolire space on the Upper East Side. Although Eater speculated that this might be a steakhouse, Flo Fab reports that it's actually going to be a high-end sister establishment to Osteria Morini called Ristorante Morini. The new project will have a casual cafe downstairs, and a more formal dining room upstairs.
Gordon Finn, formerly of Alto, will be the chef de cuisine, and Marea's Richard Anderson will be the sommelier. White notes that the menu here will not exclusively focus on the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy:
It will allow me to untie my hands and not pinpoint a specific region...It will be fun for me. It’s a little early to discuss the menu, but I can imagine doing a dish like gnocchi alla sorrentina. It’s also the kind of place that could go into a hotel or another big city.
White and Fakahany also plan to expand the Morini brand beyond the new Upper East Side restaurant, with a third version of the concept that will feature small plates and wines by the glass. The duo have not yet found a location for this enoteca version of Osteria Morini, but Fakahany explains: "It makes sense to create a brand...We’re not like Mario Batali’s Babbo Group, with a collection of restaurants, each one different."
· Michael White Plans a Morini Empire [DJ]
· White and Fakahany Sign Lease on Centolire Space [~ENY~]