Never telling customers no is only part of the philosophy for Formaggio Mio, said Scott Italiaander, the co-owner of the kosher restaurant opening sometime in the fall in Toco Hills.
The Italian bistro will be a full-service restaurant providing quick-service options, including a pizza bar, as well as takeout and delivery for dishes ranging from pastas, salads and fish to sandwiches and paninis.
“We want to provide a warm and comfortable environment families will enjoy visiting while sitting down to a nice meal with their spouse or significant other,” said Italiaander, who came up with the concept while trying to create a gathering place for the kosher Jewish community.
“We don’t see ourselves as simply a kosher restaurant, but an Italian bistro that serves kosher food, simply because we want to compete and be the best in town,” he said.
Formaggio Mio will open in the space formerly occupied by kosher dairy restaurant Broadway Cafe, which closed late in the spring after struggling with consistency in its food and service.
Although Formaggio Mio has not finalized its menu because of a desire to remain flexible in the first few weeks, the restaurant will offer a wide selection of pastas and nonmeat sauces, fish dishes for the evening, and Italian and non-Italian salads.
The bistro will serve pizzas prepared in a brick oven, which Italiaander said will bake pies in less than five minutes. He said Formaggio Mio will offer traditional and specialty pizzas with several dough options, including gluten-free.
The bistro plans to offer a late breakfast after opening at 10 a.m., which will include the chef’s specialty, shakshouka, which might also available for lunch.
“We know we can’t be all things to all people, but we definitely want to be most things to most people,” Italiaander said.
Moving forward, he hopes Formaggio Mio will produce its own bread and desserts and sell beer and wine.
After purchasing the assets and lease of the Broadway Cafe at the corner of Briarcliff and LaVista roads in June, Italiaander and partner Julie Meni, a kosher caterer in Atlanta with over 40 years’ experience in the food business, intend to run the bistro together.
Meni will lead operations in the kitchen, while Italiaander will run the front of the house with Meni’s third son, Gilad.
Although the quality of the food is important to Italiaander, he also emphasized the customer’s overall experience. “We want to provide great customer service with consistency, and most importantly we want to be responsive.”
The exact hours of operation haven’t been set, Italiaander said, but he does expect to offer weekly specials and to serve Sunday brunch.
“I hope that guests will come away thinking that Atlanta has finally entered the big leagues in terms of restaurant quality after dinning at Formaggio Mio,” Italiaander said. “We want to be on par with Los Angeles, Toronto, Montreal and New York and hope that people will see the restaurant as a worthy competitor.”
He said the plan is for the restaurant to have a soft opening, then hold a grand opening for the community later in the fall. “We are excited to serve the religious and broader Jewish community at large with great food and price in a welcoming environment.”