Although signage still bears the name Luigi Osteria, owner Tony Riviera confirms that next month he will morph his year old Italian-American restaurant on West Third Street to a mostly new concept called Tribeca. When Riviera took over Burger Kitchen he didn't have much time to think about how Luigi's would evolve with the neighborhood. While the eatery began as a classic neighborhood Italian spot, he says, West Third Street has grown into "a really vibrant- great hipster, foodie area with so much life and such an eclectic demographic."
So, Riviera has been thinking about changing Luigi's for months. In October he replaced larger, heavier dishes with small plates and eventually felt that, through customer feedback, the food on offer didn't exactly match the restaurant's Italian aesthetic and name. He explains, "In other words, we needed to have an image that projected exactly who were are. With our lofty space, brick walls, fun vibe that even includes Disco music from the 70's & 80's, I felt that a name change, quick makeover and menu revamp was certainly justified."
Next month Tribeca moves in with new garage doors out front that will open to West Third Street. No more awning, but a more modern interior and new menu. Think organic veggies, local fish, exotic salts — the whole seasonal farm to fork thing in addition to a few older staple dishes. So far Riviera is working on blackened kale with golden raisins and feta; grilled avocado with jalapeño sea salt; and wild halibut with lemon grass and Thai ginger sea salt. And in other news, he's is also building an organic garden on the restaurant's roof with plans to grow heirloom tomatoes, basil, rosemary, thyme, zucchini, figs, and more.