The talented team behind Bardo, an intimate restaurant generating buzz for its boundary-pushing cuisine and well-honed cocktail program in South End, will debut a new more casual restaurant concept later this year in the same neighborhood.
VANA, the Sanskrit word for forest, will take root at 1440 S. Tryon St. in a 2,350-square-foot corner space previously occupied by a tile store. That’s a major upgrade.
They’re currently awaiting permits to kick off an expected 20-week build out, putting the best case target opening somewhere in November or December.
Unlike Bardo, which is known as a special occasion date night restaurant, VANA will be more relaxed and approachable with an immediate focus on daytime dining, including brunch.
They expect to pull in an expanded clientele with the more laid back, family-friendly approach. And yes, VANA will even have televisions for game-day action — although the team is striking a balance on just how many.
Just like at Bardo, the kitchen will be a major focal feature in the restaurant — wide open with all the action on display. The initial floor plan shows seating for 66 including a bar and a chef’s table.
Chef Michael Noll is building out a Spanish-inspired tapas menu centered on rustic wood-fired cooking for everyday dining.
Noll says to expect the same quality of food you know at Bardo but presented in a more approachable format. Dishes will include a mix of small plates along with some larger family-style options for sharing. And I think we should all be particularly excited about the fact that they’re building out their own wood-burning pizza oven.
Behind the bar, Amanda Britton plans to play off the kitchen’s wood-burning theme with a focus on barrel-aged spirits like whiskey and mezcal.
She says that doesn’t mean all the drinks will be heavily spirit forward and you can expect a mix of both refreshing and robust cocktails. Signature offerings will include in-house barrel-aged cocktails, draft cocktails and a house shot called the Mountaineer Fast Car, a play on the Ferrari shot popular among bartenders.
Both Noll and Britton will maintain their posts at Bardo but will closely oversee the operation at VANA.
Black Dove Interiors is creating an earthy aesthetic with a mix of live-edge wood, leather and a kitschy play on faux taxidermy.
They’ll be opening up the space with two large garage doors along Summit Avenue and, with the exception of a drop ceiling over the kitchen, will be preserving the 1938 building’s existing vaulted wood ceilings.
Header rendering courtesy of Black Dove Interiors