Rosso Italia, the new Italian concept by Brad Friedlander, opened for its first night of service Dec. 4 at 3355 Richmond Road in Beachwood. It is in the former Red, the Steakhouse space next to Blu, the Restaurant, which is in the former Moxie, the Restaurant space.
When customers enter the restaurant, which is only open for dinner, Friedlander said they’re in for a “really beautiful” atmosphere.
“It’s the best-looking restaurant I’ve ever opened,” he explained. “People are just blown away already. It’s warm, intimate and sexy.”
Rosso, which means “red” in Italian, offers Italian-style fare. Friedlander said chefs Joe Lang and Julian Kuczma create everything from scratch right in Rosso’s kitchen, with offerings like pasta, lamb, steak, veal, bread and desserts. Some of the menu items include antipasti cheeses, grilled sardines, stuffed peppers, osso buco and eggplant.
“I’ve always loved Italian food,” he said. “People always say to me, ‘You’re not Italian.’ But, I love to eat it. Restaurants like Giovanni’s and Flour do a great job in the community, but they’re just different than us. We just do it differently and that option is important. We had the name trademarked years ago and it’s just something my chefs and I always wanted to do.”
Placing Rosso next door to Blu was deliberate, Friedlander said.
“I don’t think there is anything like this here in terms of ambiance and food style,” he noted. “(Rosso and Blu) complement each other. Blu is open for lunch, so people can go from one restaurant to the next.”
After choosing the location, Friedlander partnered with Mabry Design and Sky Builders to bring the idea to life.
“We did the turnaround in basically a month,” he said. “Both teams were phenomenal. I’ve never done something this quickly before and I’ve opened 20 restaurants in my career.”
Into 2020, Friedlander said his team isn’t planning to slow down between Rosso and Blu.
“There is no future in the past, so you got to move forward,” he said. “We may open Blu for brunch in the spring. And its dog patio is in full swing. Then, we have another potential announcement over here on the horizon in the new year. We’re in a big facility, so we’re looking forward to the future.”
Rosso Italia is open from 5 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Red, the Steakhouse Beachwood closed Oct. 30, moving operations to RED, the Steakhouse at Pinecrest, a mixed-use development by Fairmount Properties, in Orange. Moxie, the Restaurant closed April 27 and Blu, the Restaurant opened July 13.