Victor Rallo in the bicycle-decorated atrium of Birravino. Below, one of the long communal, or feste, tables in the dining room. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
The Old World charm of Basil T’s Brew Pub is gone, along with its popular mug club, where members had personalized mugs hanging at the bar. Remodeled and repositioned as Birravino, however, the Red Bank trattoria is just as welcoming, warm and suds-friendly as its predecessor.
Nursing a broken leg from a running accident, Victor Rallo showed up earlier this week to make sure everything was running smoothly after a makoever that included completely restructuring and redecorating his Riverside Avenue institution in about a month. Before some customers even realized the restaurant was temporarily off-line, a new name was on the building and the changes were well underway, he said.
The result? “I wanted an industrial, rustic look like you see in the trattorias or osterias of Italy,” he told PieHole, amid the exposed brick walls, honed wooden tabletops, galvanized metal seats and an open kitchen. “Definitely something more casual” than Basil’s, he said.
The exterior’s already gotten a facelift and one is underway inside at Basil T’s, soon to reopen as Birravino, says owner Vic Rallo Jr., below. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
After 27 years in business, Red Bank’s Basil T’s brewpub will close this Saturday to undergo a makeover that will transform it into Birravino.
Basil’s owner Vic Rallo Jr. tells redbankgreen he’s repurposing his Riverview Avenue eatery he founded in 1987 with his brother and late father to mirror a dining style he’s come to appreciate on repeated trips to his ancestral home for his television show, “Eat, Drink, Italy.”
Overhauling a successful restaurant, and taking a flyer on a concept that affects everything from the menu to the awnings? Is Rallo nuts? Apparently, we’re not the first to ask.
“I’ve heard it all,” Rallo said. “My friends are saying, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ Or ‘did you go bankrupt?’ ‘Are you a heroin addict? Getting a divorce?'”