He's BACK! Raffaele Gallo, former owner of Toscana Restaurant and Chef Extraordinaire is getting ready to open Gallo Ristorante, an upbeat, upscale Italian eatery conveniently located at 5 Grove Street in Ridgefield. "I'm so excited to be back," Gallo said. Working along side Gallo is Ridgefield resident Jeffrey Hennig who will be the restaurant manager, Nancy Burke, who is heads his catering department, and renowned chef who hails from Naples, Guiseppe Castellano.
During the past year, the building, which once housed the East Ridge Cafe, was extensively renovated and architecturally designed by locally owned Doyle/Coffin Architecture. "I love the building," says Gallo. "I own it which is one of the reasons we did all of work - we gutted the whole thing," he says. The "we" Gallo is referring to is Ridgefield builder, Tom McInerney of McInerney Building and Remodeling.
Upon walking into Gallo you will immediately set your eyes on a state-of-the art wood-fired pizza oven, the 'hub' of the vibrant restaurant. "The pizza oven adds ambiance," says Gallo. The beautiful brick oven also adds flavor and variety to the menu. "The reason I put a pizza oven in is not just because I want to make pizza. There is so much you can do with this oven - we can create the best recipes, cook fish, steak, and bake the best bread," says Gallo. "We make our own Focaccia," he adds.
And yes, there will be pizza. But not just any pizza. "My pizza is something to make people say WOW. It's homemade and I use the buffalo mozzarella," explains Gallo.
Gallo's extensive outdoor patio seats 65 while the interior can accommodate 99. "For the parking, we had to keep it under 100," explains Gallo who will offer a valet service for all customers.
Expect to be treated like a king and queen - because that's how Gallo wants you to feel. There will be extensive wine list from around the world, a large bar area, a bar overlooking the pizza oven, and a private room upstairs adorned with local art and complete with a wine-cellar. "You can sit at the pizza bar, have a glass of wine, watch the chef making the pizza while you wait for a table," says Gallo.
Gallo and Hennig are planning on having guest bartender events to benefit local charities, something that was a big hit when Gallo owned Toscana. "We love supporting the community," says Gallo. In fact, Gallo plans on employing some of the members of the SPHERE community.
Gallo will be open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. "We'll have take out and some music at night," says Gallo who will also offer a children's menu.
Gallo is set to open in about a month but the phone is already ringing with people who are booking their holiday parties. "We already have 10-15 parties booked at the restaurant in December," says Gallo.
And talk about an opening party, Gallo says, "I'd like to have a grand opening on my birthday, November 17."
Happy Birthday Raffaele and welcome back to the Ridgefield restaurant scene!
Interested in booking a party? Call: 203-431-7726