Major Food Group Opens Torrisi Bar & Restaurant
It's Rich Torrisi's time to shine
The three partners behind Major Food Group (MFG), Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi, and Jeff Zalaznick, have quickly become one of the most powerful triumvirates in the culinary world. Headquartered in New York City, MFG has rapidly expanded its empire to Miami, Las Vegas, Dallas, Boston, Paris, and Hong Kong.
Although MFG’s portfolio includes a vast number of concepts, its most beloved restaurant is surely Carbone, partner Mario Carbone’s love story to Italian red sauce joints.
Now, it’s partner Rich Torrisi’s time to shine with the opening of Torrisi Bar & Restaurant, located in New York City’s iconic Puck Building.
At Torrisi’s eponymous restaurant, the chef and restaurateur comes full circle. In 2009, Torrisi Italian Specialties opened at 250 Mulberry Street as a sandwich shop to one of New York City’s best-loved restaurants. That original iteration closed in 2015, but don’t expect that 15-seat eatery to have much in common with this new, grand 4,000 sq. ft. restaurant.
Rich Torrisi tells Broken Palate that, although it may be easy to compare the two establishments, they’re completely different. “Given the name and location, that’s understandable. But this is wildly different compared to 250 Mulberry Street: The size of it, the significance of the location, the à la carte menu—the fact that we had no bar or cocktails and now I couldn’t be more proud of the world-class wine and cocktails and service this team will offer.”
Torrisi says that the similarities are in the inspiration that he garnered from his experiences in New York City. “The through line is the inspiration, which is Italian-American cuisine and the cuisines of New York City that have shaped me, from trips I used to take to Chinatown with my father to the tradition of Jewish appetizing that Mario [Carbone] and I both have always loved. The other big difference is that this restaurant reflects everything I’ve learned and seen since. It is a chance for us to do so many things we could only dream of as scrappy young chefs. There are some deep cuts that we have subtly improved, but it’s not a nostalgia act.”
And, although each of the partners have restaurants named after them (Carbone, ZZ’s Club, and now Torrisi), the chef says that every restaurant is possible because of the dynamic synergy between the group. “I have to say up top that no single one of us deserves all the credit for any single one of our concepts. I’m incredibly grateful for the dynamic, collaborative partnership between me, Jeff, and Mario. No project would have come out the same if it weren’t for that. Is Carbone more Mario and Torrisi more me? Yes. But Mario and Jeff are very influential and active in the development of this project.”
Torrisi Bar and Restaurant offers diners a menu of classics like spaghetti gricia, linguine with Manhattan clams, and tortellini pomodoro; alongside favorites from the original Torrisi Italian Specialties like cucumbers New Yorkese, clam boule, Jamaican cavatelli, lamb alla Judea, and bass dogana. The kitchen is helmed by Torrisi, along with executive chef Charlie England and pastry chef Stephanie Prida.
Nathan McCarley-O’Neill, has created a beverage program of classic cocktails and Italian aperitivos, along with a good selection of wines.
The restaurant, which opened this week, is sure to be another feather in the ever-impressive hat that is Major Food Group. Better make reservations now if your New Year’s resolution is to enjoy a plate of pasta there.