61 Osteria set to dazzle: Why you should try this new Italian restaurant in Fort Worth
Chef/culinary director Blaine Staniford looks both tired and excited. No wonder, as he prepares to open his third downtown Fort Worth restaurant (Grace and Little Red Wasp continue to hum along).
The long-awaited Italian eatery fills a big spot on the ground floor of the 21-story First on 7th building across from Burnett Park. “Osteria” is an Italian word referring to a place serving wine and simple food with a focus on local specialties. Staniford says he’s not focusing on a single region of Italy on his menus for lunch, brunch or dinner, and family-style dining on Sundays. “I’ve learned so much about pasta and the many factors that go into making even a simple dish. It has been challenging but so much fun.”
He is proud of his staff and excited about the new facility. “The amount of culinary talent that’s come together is incredible and super inspiring for me. And one of the exciting features in the kitchen is a custom-made wood-burning hearth.” Wines focus on Italian producers, and the cocktail program also will feature Italian classics.
From what we saw on an early December tour, it’s all worth the wait, from Staniford’s focused menu of housemade pasta to the architecture and design, inside and out, from Gregory Ibañez, co-principal of Ibañez Shaw Architecture, an award-winning firm based in Fort Worth. The high-rise originally was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill of New York City and includes an expansive granite plaza with a site-specific Isamu Noguchi triptych. The restaurant’s patio will complement the space with dining tables, outdoor sofas and a fire table. Inside, the word “sexy” comes to mind, thanks to the many curved booths, a favorite style of owner Adam Jones.
An abundance of natural materials includes walls of deeply veined marble from India in earthy green and brown tones and a massive centerpiece of hanging aluminum chains that form shimmering light boxes in the dining room. Restrooms feature black granite flecked with metallic veins illuminated by Italian light fixtures. The original floor-to-ceiling windows remain, allowing for lots of natural light in the space. After dark, passers-by will be drawn to the glow from inside.
Look for a late January-early February opening.