Taking a look inside Trevioli Italian Kitchen
Pausing for a moment Tuesday inside Trevioli Italian Kitchen on Blackmon Road, Trevor Morris summed up his emotions on the new restaurant that he and partner Sanjay Choudhury will open to hungry guests on Thursday afternoon.
“I feel like it’s a rebirth here,” said the former owner of Trevioli Artisan Pasta Company, a small restaurant launched in a storage complex on Tower Road just under four years ago. It was closed several weeks ago so the chef and restaurateur could work uninterrupted with Choudhury on the new property.
“How do you describe it? … I feel like the art inside me has finally been able to come out, and the building is what I wanted,” Morris said. “I had the freedom to design everything. Sanjay backed me up the whole way. He just said come in and draw me a picture of what you want. They sent that up to Atlanta to design it and it came back, and here it is.”
The 3,426-square-foot restaurant, with about 125 seats inside and roughly 40 more on an outside patio, is basically a mix of the old Trevioli with new and glitzier elements. That includes a centerpiece bar that the former eatery did not have, with much more elbow room in the dining area and the kitchen.
Unique features include the purchase of special equipment to smoke meats such as steak and lamb, Morris said, with handcrafted drinks and spirits from small-batch distilleries behind the bar. The restaurant also has a roll-up door that at times will be opened to allow easy access between the main room and the patio.
The menu itself also has been massaged somewhat, with some of the dishes carrying over from Trevioli Artisan Pasta Company. But, as Morris said, Trevioli Italian Kitchen is not a “little specialty place” any longer. Steaks have been added, along with several risottos and gnocchi items. Lamb and fresh Maine lobster ravioli also are being made in house.
At the bequest of Choudhury, a Columbus businessman who also owns the local Wild Wing Cafe and another now being built in the Auburn-Opelika, Ala., area, live music will be on the menu during the weekends. But it will be a softer, more acoustic flavor than at the wing palace.
“We need it to be a neighborhood-friendly place that people come to a lot. That’s the idea,” said Morris, who has hired eight cooks initially as he navigates the first three months of the restaurant’s life, which are crucial to its long-term foundation.
“We’ve been working hard on this since November,” Morris said Tuesday just before a “Friends and Family” preview gathering of about 200 people. “We’ve just been here everyday. We ran into issues, and the construction took a long time. But the city has been great, so we’re very happy.”
Choudhury, who is on his way to becoming a restaurant operational veteran, also described the challenge the two partners have faced in getting an independent venture off the ground in a city that seemingly has no shortage of love for national chain eateries.
“This is kind of a challenge for me and Trevor, us both, because we are trying to compete with franchises like Carrabba’s and Olive Garden,” he said. “It’s definitely competition there, but our quality is better than them for sure. I think the community is going to support us. So I’m expecting a lot of excitement here. I’m really excited.”
The restaurateurs also have hopes that there will be more to come, with the possibility of another Trevioli Italian Kitchen making its debut at some point after this one gets its legs firmly under it.
“We’re looking,” Morris said. “He’s opening Wild Wings in various other places, and we tossed around the idea of maybe next door to Wild Wings we could put another Trevioli. So depending on how well we get this going, maybe we’ll see more.”
Trevioli Italian Kitchen’s soft opening will be 4 p.m. Thursday, with the grand opening scheduled for May 12. Details of that event have yet to be firmed up.