M Osteria set to bring bit of Italy DowntownWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | firstname.lastname@example.org
Toledoans have been ordering Pat Giammarco’s food into their own homes for more than 30 years.
Starting Feb. 23, they’ll be able to eat his food in his Downtown establishment, as M Osteria & Bar opens its doors at 611 Monroe St.
Pasquale “Pat” Giammarco, who founded Marco’s Pizza in Toledo in 1978, bought the 135-year-old building about three years ago and has slowly been renovating it since.
Last year, he started talking with Robert Croak — a staple in the Toledo bar and restaurant scene for 25 years — and hired him as M Osteria’s director of operations, in charge of branding, entertainment and overall concept.
“Osteria” is an Italian term that is loosely defined as a smaller restaurant with an emphasis on its short menu and fine wines.
“To us, it means a hangout,” Croak said. “A cool, smaller place where friends and family can hang out and eat. That’s really it.”
M Osteria will be an Italian bistro on the first floor, with a lounge space upstairs often featuring a DJ.
“It will be for the little more high-end crowd where they can bring their date and have a nice night,” Croak said of the lounge. “A place you can get a table and enjoy some really nice wines and craft beers, and just really have a great experience and night out.
“Toledo is primarily sports bars right now and the lounge atmosphere has gone away for quite some time, so we’re just trying to bring something back to give people who want to dress up a place to go on a weekend night where they can just feel good about themselves and really go out and have a good time.”
Downstairs, the main emphasis will be on the kitchen. Toledoan Justin Thomas will be the head chef, with a culinary team that will include its own baker and pasta maker.
“The food is the most important part,” Croak said. “A lot of people build nice places but they don’t focus on really high-quality food. For us, it’s about high-quality ingredients and just doing really great stuff.
“Obviously with Pat’s history in pizza in the city of Toledo, we have someone with 30 years of experience making great pizza. We’re focusing on pizza but also a lot of great Italian items. People should plan to see homemade breads, homemade pastas, homemade arancini and just a lot of really great items that there will be a lot of care put into.”
M Osteria & Bar’s menu includes soups and salads, antipasti, paninis, burgers, artisan pizzas, entrees, pastas and sides. Appetizers range in price from $5 to $16, sandwiches in the $9-$12 range, pizzas (available hand-tossed or thin) $12-$16 and entrees $15-$25. Sides are all $6.
Pizza toppings include: Old World pepperoni, chicken, arugula, prosciutto, garlic spinach, roasted peppers, baby artichokes, roasted garlic, Italian sausage, roasted wild mushrooms, roasted tomatoes and lamb meatballs.
The business is located on the northern edge of Downtown’s Warehouse District, on Monroe Street between Erie and Huron streets. Across the street from Table Forty4, it sits in the middle of the block bookended by The Blarney Irish Pub and the upcoming Black Cloister Brewing Company, set to open in March.
“We think the location is fantastic. Obviously this corridor is doing great and we feel that we add something a little different to the area. For us, it’s great to be able to play off the other [businesses], while still not competing with them necessarily. For us, it’s just a really nice fit in the neighborhood, and we’ve been really well received.”
The business will employ about 30 individuals, with the hiring process still ongoing.
Hours will be 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. Friday, Saturday and special-event nights and closed Sundays.