For over 40 years Maria Bastulli operated Maria's Italian Restaurant (formerly Maria's Roman Room) on Detroit Road in Lakewood. Vacant for years — apart from its use as an Obama campaign field office — the space will soon have a new tenant. Paul Colletti, owner of Brickhouse Bar and Grill in Slavic Village, is putting the finishing touches on Braised (11822 Detroit Ave.).
"The menu is exactly like our name: Culinary inspired dishes focused on braised meats, fish and vegetables, but with approachable prices," explains Colletti. "The place will feel high-end from the design, but the price point and concept are not." And staying true to the space's history, Colletti is preserving some of Maria's Italian dishes on the menu as a tribute to the former operator.
Colletti dishes freely about the dishes, but not so much about the ambitious interior renovations. "This is going to be something really different and special," he promises. "We are aiming for a contemporary look with a high-end feel." Diners can look forward to a 24-seat bar that will serve as focal point thanks to some high-tech illumination integrated into the design.
Not everything will be brand new. "We are also taking the Maria's sign from out front and incorporating it into our outdoor patio," he adds. "It would be a real shame to lose that." The patio is being expanded thanks to the removal of the former party room roof to create a much larger outdoor footprint.
Colletti is investing heavily in the space, but thinks it's a great bet because of the opportunity he sees in the area. "The east end of Lakewood is really starting to grow and Lakewood has such a great customer base. I'm just happy to get in on the ground floor."
Look for Braised to open in approximately three months.