Big changes are coming to Lakewood, says Rick Doody, restaurateur behind such concepts as Cedar Creek Grille
, 17 River Grille
and Lindey’s Lake House
. Drawing on his roots as co-founder of Bravo and Brio restaurants, Doody is converting the format at his two-year-old Lakewood eatery, Lindey's Lake House, to Bar Italia, starring fresh pastas and homemade sauces.
“We’ve been working for months on this new concept,” Doody explains. “We’re pretty close to being completed.”
Doody says that the changes were largely driven by Covid and evolving consumer demand, which places a premium on foods that travel and reheat well following carry-out and delivery.
“We learned and we’re trying to adapt,” he says. “We think converting to Italian makes sense and is the right thing to do.”
Doody and his team noticed that the dishes that outperformed all others over these past few months were the family-sized pasta dishes that were designed to be reheated at home. Bar Italia is designed to expand on the success of those family-style, to-go pasta dishes.
“When those pasta dishes did so well, it was like our Lakewood community was telling us what they’d like to see more of in the neighborhood,” adds Director of Operation Pat Granzier.
Bar Italia will use fresh pasta from Flour Pasta Company
, fresh-baked breads from On the Rise
and made-from-scratch sauces crafted with high-quality meats.
Appetizers will include staples like a chopped Italian salad, burrata with grilled country bread, fritto misto with fried calamari and shrimp, and sausage-stuffed hot peppers. Diners can mix and match between a half-dozen fresh pastas and a half-dozen different sauces. Those a la carte pasta dishes are joined on the menu by entrees like classic chicken parmesan, parmesan-crusted chicken in lemon butter sauce, veal Marsala with spaghetti pomodoro, three-meat lasagna, shrimp Diavalo and grilled branzino.
Lindey’s Lake House currently is undergoing a complete interior makeover to warm the space up and make it more inviting. New awnings, signage and exterior lighting will follow. Bar Italia also will roll out a fleet of five Ferrari-red Fiat 500s and will employ its own team of drivers to deliver the food.
“This is going to be way cooler than Bravo-Brio,” Doody promises.
Doody says that if the concept does as well as he thinks it will in Lakewood, the same changes could be applied in Beachwood. There will be no such changes in the Flats, he adds.
Look for Bar Italia to open in late January.