“So, far, so good. It’s slow, but steady,” said Brendan O’Neil.
O’Neil, who previously owned Il Piatto, an Italian restaurant in the location that’s currently Mesa 21, and a brick oven pizza restaurant in North Kingston, is now running The Italian Kitchen.
The restaurant currently offers sit-down dining for lunch and dinner Mondays through Thursdays and take-out Fridays through Sundays, when the club rents out its function hall. Starting later this month, they plan to start serving dine-in customers on the weekends, too, O’Neil said.
The pandemic has created an uncertain environment for the restaurant industry, but O’Neil said he loved the club’s kitchen set-up. And while like many, he was taken aback by the current COVID surge, he’s hopeful it will pass relatively quickly so they can dive into business as usual.
“It was just too good an opportunity to pass up. And my hope and our intent going forward is to grow reasonably,” he said.
O’Neil said his focus is on serving traditional Italian fare, nothing too out-there, but doing it well; their veal parmesan and chicken parmesan is “noticeably better than what you’ll get at bigger chain places.”
Some of the other Italian classics on the menu include spaghetti and meatballs; shrimp picatta, pasta with bolognese and pasta with clams in white wine sauce. The menu offers a couple of choices for soups and salads as well as an assortment of appetizers and pizza. To top it off is O’Neil’s signature tiramisu and house-made cheesecake.
“Our attention to detail is really there, from the wait staff to the guy and gal who work in the kitchen with me,” he said.
Most diners comment on the restaurant’s bread, which they also serve full loaves of. The bread is made fresh and always kneaded by hand.
The inspiration behind that choice? O’Neil can’t find his commercial-grade electric mixer anywhere.
“It’s in one of my friend’s garages. I move around a lot,” he laughed.
The Don Carlos Club is located at 245 Plain St. Parking is behind the building on Varley Street.
Audrey Cooney can be reached at [email protected]. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.