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Positano "Dream to Reality"

I"ll be blogging the journey of my quest open Positano. I work alone with no partners and it's been my dream for four years to build a beautiful Italian Restaurant in the Navy yard.

I am on the Bolt bus on the way from New York City, "if I am going to build restaurant for just under a million dollars, I need to watch every penny." It only cost $28 round trip and they have nice seats with plenty of leg room and free wifi. That's less than a cab to an overpriced "average" restaurant in the Back Bay.

The purpose of my trip was to research Italian food, beer and wine from some of the new hip and sucessful Italian concepts. I also visited the legendary Grammery Tavern for some local Island Creek Oysters and a couple of half glasses of wine. I tasted a unique white from Hungry call Tokjai Sec I really enjoyed and will try and import it to the Bistro.

The first Italian restaurant I visited was Celebraty Chef Mario Batali's Otto. Like all Celebraty Chefs, it's his in name only and he probably stops by once a month. Even the "want to be" celebraty chefs of Boston don't own their restaurants. Most of them own between 10 to 50%.

But anyways, I heard good things about Otto from a local sucessful chef and I took my cousin and two friends out for dinner. The wine list is all Itallian and 500 bottles deep. We each tried a different varietal to start and then I split a nice bottle of Barolo with my cousin Janelle.

She is lives in Brooklyn and is shoe designer that travels often to Europe and China. She also generously designed my "Nerves of Steel" logo for my foundation I set up to benefit Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. I will be taking her up on her offer to design the Positano logo.

For starters we ordered a Spinach Salad with Truffle Honey Vinaigrette. The vinaigrette was great and gave me some ideas for future uses. We go through truffle oil by the gallon at the Bistro and wish I could buy it by the barrel as opposed to those 8 once bottles.

I love creative side vegetable dishes and we tried the Caponatina "sweet and sour eggplant," English Peas and Prosciutto and Broccali Rabe with Ricotta Salata. They were all delicious. I would of just chopped up the Prosciutto rather than toss a few a slices on top of crunchy peas.

For entrees, one friend ordered a gluten-free Chicken Broccalli Pasta dish. "They charged $2 extra for gluten-free." The other friend ordered her Sausage Pasta dish with the yummy gluten and saved me $2.

The pasta wasn't homemade and the plates were not big, but a great value at $10. "Try finding that in the North End!" The other two of us had pizzas with homemade pepperoni and buffalo mozzarella. I usually don't care for pepperoni, but their's was good and had a nice kick to it.

We finished with a Banana Tartufo. "I'm a weirdo and don't like bananas," but my three dining companions loved it. I mostly devoured the creamy vanilla gelato they called an "Affogato."

Positano will be making our own gelato, that's for sure. We finished the night at a Boston Sports bar to watch the thrilling Celtic game. This place was like Ironsides on steroids. The win topped off a great first night of my "research trip."

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Chris soho June 08, 2012 at 10:51 PM
Nice to see your doing 'homework', as so many people who try and open a restaurant, fail because they already know what they are doing! It's a cudo to your monster success, always learning, exploring and and asking questions! Your next endeavor, will no doubt, be a smash! See you soon!
karen dempsey carney June 09, 2012 at 01:25 PM
John -do you know the Italian restaurant Trattoria Simpatico in Jamestown, RI.? The calamari app they serve is outstanding. The batter was light - apparently cornmeal the presentation was outstanding - greens, roasted peppers, some kind of crumbled cheese, olives. Etc. Hope you will offer similar at your new place! Yummm
KAC June 09, 2012 at 01:45 PM
John...what a great homework assignment! We can't wait for your new Italiano restaurant. Don't forget gluten free and vegan...Chronicle and TV DINERjust did segments on Boston restaurants adapting to the needs of folks with gluten allergies and dietary needs. Ciao
KAC June 09, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Oh...some of the best Italian food I ate in Italy was at my cousins' kitchen tables....simple ingredients, FRESH from their gardens or the market that AM (even in Rome), light not HEAVY, and food you focused on...you just enjoyed every bite. My cousin told me that if people are looking at their food and eating quietly, rather than talking...talking...and looking around, the food is AMAZING. I look for this whenever I'm traveling and it hasn't failed yet. People sit and relax AND enjoy each bite ....
WD June 09, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Riviera Cafe, best place to watch a celts game in NYC
MaryLee Trettenero June 11, 2012 at 12:46 PM
I'm so excited that you're opening another restaurant in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Another anchor restaurant with excellent food! I take buses into New York all the time and get a lot done while being chauffeured around! Looking forward to reading your blog! MaryLee

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