Steve DiFillippo may be a North Shore guy, but he’s been trying to make a South Shore move for years.
Finally, the chief executive of the Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse chain has found an opening: He has leased about 10,000 square feet in the South Shore Plaza in Braintree to open his ninth Davio’s restaurant by mid-summer. About 100 people will work there.
DiFillippo says he was already familiar with the folks at mall owner Simon Property Group because his Atlanta restaurant is in a Simon complex. He jumped at the opportunity when he heard from them that the Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Braintree would be closing, making space available at the mall.
DiFillippo likes the location: at the mall’s entrance, visible from Granite Street, high ceilings, an outdoor patio. (It’s also on his way to his Yankee Trader Seafood plant in Pembroke.) He’ll make some changes to the Joe’s space by expanding the ground floor area, moving the bathrooms up from the basement level, and creating private function rooms.
Word about the new restaurant started circulating in February, when South Shore Bank CEO Jim Dunphy hosted a networking event at Herb Chambers’ Lexus dealership in Hingham. DiFillippo says he hadn’t intended to unveil the Braintree opening there. But he mentioned it to Chambers and Dunphy, and then Dunphy announced it to the crowd.
Tavistock Group owns Joe’s now, but the chain was overseen for years by legendary restaurateur Charlie Sarkis. DiFillippo considers it an honor to take over a former Sarkis space.
“Charlie Sarkis is one of my mentors,” DiFillippo says. “I always looked up to him.”Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.