Tavolo. It means "table" in Italian, and early next year it will also be the name of a new eatery in Peabody Square. The restaurant, tentatively scheduled for opening in Jan. 2008, will occupy a portion of the first floor of The Carruth Building, a mixed-use development now under construction next to the Ashmont MBTA Station.
True to its name, the cuisine at Tavolo will have an Italian flair with a focus on pizza and pasta dishes.
"Dorchester's loaded with pizza joints, the last thing we need is another pizza joint, so I wanted to differentiate myself," said owner Chris Douglass.
To separate Tavolo from the pack, Douglass said that the restaurant would take a more "artisanal" approach to pizza making, doing a cold ferment of the dough, a process which takes a few days, but adds flavor to the dough.
"There will probably be a half-dozen to eight pizzas on the menu, it will primarily be pizzas and combos that are classics that we're going to represent," said Douglass.
In addition, Tavolo will boast seating for up to 80, including 20 at a bar that will have a full liquor license.
The idea for Tavolo sprung from talks between Douglass and Trinity Financial, developers of The Carruth Building, who envisioned a restaurant as a tenant in the building.
"There were two things happening simultaneously," said Douglass. "I started thinking about it as a restaurant for myself and they started thinking about me [as an operator for it]."
With the opening of Tavolo, Peabody Sq. would be home to two Douglass-owned eateries. Just up Talbot Ave. is the Ashmont Grill, which opened nearly two years ago and continues to draw crowds to a neighborhood not previously known as a dining destination. Another restaurant, Douglass hopes, will draw more traffic.
"I think there's going to be a whole new group of clientele that may be thinking of coming down to this part of Dorchester if there are more restaurants," said Douglass.
The pricing of Tavolo will be at a point just below that of the Grill, and the menus are different enough that Douglass believes the area can easily support both.
Tavolo is slated to open in January of 2008.