The behemoth dining room and patio will be gutted, and the result will be “a hybrid of Tarrant’s and Max’s on Broad, with chandeliers and subway tiles, reclaimed wood and tile floors, the best elements of both” businesses, Santarella says. The menu will be familiar to those who’ve visited Tarrant’s – she-crab soup, pizzas, pasta, buttered rolls and hearty entrees in a casual setting.
Another significant change is Santarella’s recent hire of chef Carlos Silva, who left Bistro 27 downtown to become corporate chef and partner. Chef Paul Wielt from Hondos has also joined the team. “I try to hire people who are better than me,” Santarella says, “and unless I show growth I couldn’t attract people like Carlos, who is a very dynamic personality and great chef. People like him and he can get things done,” and he will help run the businesses.
With two restaurants now feeding 5,000 guests a week, Santarella says it’s clear that dining out has become a way of life and Richmond has always been a food town, but now has more choices. Tarrant’s West is expected to open in six months. Silva took on his new role this week.