The Independent Film Channel’s hit show “Portlandia” surmises the 1990s are alive and well and living in the Pacific Northwest, but a new restaurant in far northwest Oklahoma City is betting the decade lives on in the 405 area code, too.
While “Portlandia” is known for putting a bird on things, this new old concept will have a Byrd’s name on it — Tommy Byrd, who confirmed he will reopen his successful 1990s concept Tommy’s Italian-American Grill this spring.
Byrd, who was also founder of Bellini’s Italian Restaurant and a former partner in Poblano Grill, opened the original Tommy’s in 1992 in the Northpark Mall space Rococo’s currently calls home. The longtime successful restaurateur has spent recent years as a partner in the Emerging Brands/Enduring Brands group but is now back to where he started as an independent operator.
“We’re really excited about bringing Tommy’s back,” Byrd said. “We didn’t close it because there wasn’t interest; it was more of a business decision where we thought we were competing with ourselves a little bit.”
Byrd said the new space, located between the newest addition to the Charleston’s family and the soon-to-open pizzeria Revolve at 5516 W Memorial Road, will seat about 160 inside, plus there are two patios — one upstairs, the other down.
“We’re going to be about pasta, and we’ll have a great wine list,” Byrd said. “We’ll have a lot of the favorites from the original but plenty of new stuff, too.
The chef in charge of the new Tommy’s is Ryan Murphy, who learned his trade as an apprentice for chef Kurt Fleischfresser at The Coach House. Byrd says if all goes well, the new incarnation of Tommy’s will be opened before the start of May.
•Speaking of Italian concepts of the 1990s, another familiar name (no, NOT Custino’s) is returning to the industry. Candace Gideo, who was owner of Papa’s Little Italy and is sister to Bill Bonadio of Papa Dio’s, is behind a new mobile kitchen called 2 Brothers Bistro.
Serving pasta and sandwiches from family recipes, Gideo and sons unveiled the new truck last week in Edmond. I’ll have more about the operation in the weeks to come, but for now you can keep track with 2 Brothers movements through its Facebook page; search 2 Brothers Bistro.
•And now for some Italian food with no connection to the 1990s, I talked with Chris Lower and Kathryn Mathis, who will partner with Shaun Fiaccone on a new pizzeria called Gusto’s. They report the concept in the Uptown area will open in early summer.
•And for those of you waiting for The George Prime Steakhouse to open, a source told me the doors should open before May 1.