As BCR first reported last month, Tosca Ristorante Italiano has wound down operations at West Village on Morgan St., with the new owner of the Durham Cinelli's restaurant picking up the site -- and, it seems, the restaurant's employees -- for a new venture.
The shift in Italian dining comes amidst an expansion at Whole Foods that pushed into Cinelli's kitchen, leaving the Bull City Market restaurant seeking a new site. As we've previously reported, with Tosca and Blue Corn Cafe owners Danielle and Antonio Rios seeking to focus on family and reduce their commitment to a single restaurant, Tosca was planned to shutter anyway next year, at the end of its ten year lease.
A win-win for all is underway, as Tosca has been rechristened 604 West Morgan Italian Eatery, operating under what we hear is a soft opening on Sunday night.
A BCR reader reported the presence of new patio furniture and a modest reconfiguration inside, but Italian fare is still on the menu -- a menu which, according a Durham Magazine blog post from yesterday, will include local chicken, monkfish, seafood and more.
Rob Sumber, a chef with experience in New York restaurants, will helm the kitchen under new owner Sean Shea.
More casual dining will take place in what had been the private dining room at Tosca, now transformed into -- what else? -- Cinelli's Pizzeria, under the same ownership.
So, one site, two concepts, including the long-familiar Cinelli's.
DM reports that one element in the agreement to sell was Shea's willingness to give all Tosca employees a shot at employment with the new venture, so expect to see familiar faces at the Morgan St. location.
The dinner soft-opening should extend to lunch in a few weeks, DM reports, with Cinelli's possibly being open as soon as this weekend. There's wine to date, but no liquor pending an ABC permit just applied for.