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VOL. 133 | NO. 159 | Monday, August 13, 2018

Grisanti Son Opening Restaurant Inspired by Father

Special to The Daily News

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Judd Grisanti is just a few short weeks away from opening a restaurant that moves him to tears almost every time he talks about it.

Judd Grisanti

In early September, Ronnie Grisanti’s will open at Regalia. It’s been home to Mikasa, Circa by John Bragg, Southward and most recently, Heritage Tavern & Kitchen. As the three-month remodel nears the end, it’s a new place.

"We wanted something cozy, a place where you come and you might want to stay all night," Grisanti said. "We definitely want everyone to feel at home."

Home, in this case, is most like the former Ronnie Grisanti’s at Poplar and Humes, the space where the late Grisanti operated for about 30 years. Like the new place, it was clubby and comfortable.

Judd Grisanti and his brother Alex worked with their father on Poplar for many years before setting out on their own, each in different directions. When the elder Grisanti left the Poplar spot, he eventually landed in the restaurant at Sheffield Antiques Mall in Collierville. As his health declined, Judd Grisanti joined his father and eventually took over that operation, which closed early this summer.

Ronnie Grisanti’s, opening in September at Regalia, will feature more than a dozen roomy booths and a large table in an alcove that can be made private. (Daily News)

The new restaurant will seat 24 at a double-L shaped bar, which is also where oysters will be served. The dining room seats 136 in its current configurations. There are more than a dozen roomy booths and a large table in an alcove that can be made private. A half wall is home to booths on one side and tables on another, and the center of the dining room holds tables. An upstairs dining room looks down over all the hubbub.

The front glass doors are coming down; and in their place arched mahogany doors with leaded glass are going in. "You’ll know you’re coming into an old-world place when you see the doors," Grisanti said. "And the first thing people will see is my father’s signature on the wall. He had a perfect signature. It looked like he used a stamp every time he signed his name."

Other Grisanti’s memorabilia will be in the entry, from old menus to family photos. And the menu will include many of the favorites from the old places, from classic to the family such as Elfo Special to freshly made pasta, and numerous fish and meat dishes.

"I call it antico and nuovo," Grisanti said. "It’s old food but with a new twist."

He’ll open for dinner and within a few weeks add lunch service. Eventually he’ll have Sunday brunch and plans for a valet take-out service so diners on the go can have meals delivered to their car.

"This is such an emotional journey for me," he said. "I cannot tell you how honored I am to be doing this for my family’s name, but you can’t imagine how much I wish my father were here to see it."

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