Massimo Fabbri, the Italian chef behind D.C. power dining spot Tosca, gave Eater a sneak peek at the new Tuscan-style restaurant he hopes to open by the end of May in Shaw.
Fabbri, who lives down the street, hired design firm Swatchroom to transform the brick-lined space formerly occupied by neighborhood eatery Thally (1316 Ninth St NW). He says the new look is inspired by Il Maialetto, a Michelin-endorsed restaurant in his native Tuscany where he’s had many “fabulous simple meals.”
The last casual restaurant Fabbri ran in D.C., Posto, lasted nearly a decade. It closed in early 2016. The 20-year-old Tosca has welcomed the likes of former President Barack Obama and D.C. newcomer Ivanka Trump.
“I am going to make [San Lorenzo] very simple and down to earth,” says Fabbri. “I want there to be lots of wood and life to it.”
San Lorenzo’s name is an ode to a famous Tuscan saint as well as Fabbri’s three-year-old son, Lorenzo. The roughly 70-seat spot — with room for 56 in the dining room, plus another 14 at the bar — is projected to feature a piece of commissioned art resembling an olive branch that doubles as a light fixture.
Branding throughout will include a laurel wreath with the the crest from his home town. The soundtrack will rely heavily on modern Italian music.
Georgetown’s Italian market Via Umbria is where he’s buying lots of accessories, including olive oil, wooden bread baskets, and ceramics. He says a table facing the street will be marble, but most of the seating including banquettes will be made of wood elements.
Fabbri garnered a high-profile following during his tenure at Tosca, and he wants to replicate the idea of a private chef’s table tucked behind a curtain wall. He’s hoping many of his regulars, a roster that includes K Street lobbyists and House minority leader Nancy Pelosi, will also join him in Shaw.
Fabbri says he doesn’t want San Lorenzo to become a late-night lounge, floating plans to shut down service around 1 a.m. “I don’t want to be here until 4 a.m.,” he says. He tells Eater that he’s already hired a general manager, but declined to reveal the name. He’s currently interviewing for a chef de cuisine.
The opening menu remains in the works. But Fabbri says he plans to make all the pastas in-house, and expects to showcase lots of “simple proteins.” Potential offerings range from hearty vegetable soups to rabbit and steak Florentine. Posto fans take note: there’s not going to be any pizzas (San Lorenzo lacks the right type of oven for that).