UPDATE March 2010
Chef Joe continues to rock the Montgomery Dining Scene.
Here's some photos of the restaurant and the food.
If you check out the website, you'll see even more amazing photos of the restaurant and the food.
Here's what I don't understand though...
One of his key signature dishes (I'll take full credit for inspiring him to create this one!)
is the Slow Braised Short Ribs with a Cabernet Poached Egg. This is truly one of those 'crave items' that once you have it, you're hooked for life and will drive for hours to have it again. But there's no pic of that dish on the website. What's up with that Joe? It looks as good as it tastes!
You can check out the menu here. It's an inspiring one, to be sure.
And, not surprisingly, the restaurant continues to get rave reviews. Of course, having Chef Justin Gaines, winner of 'Chopped', who also happens to be Chef Joe's right arm at Saza doesn't hurt, not does it?
Here's a good article about Chef Justin
Congrat's on the continued success guys! Keep it up.
...and Chef Joe....it wouldn't hurt to show your face around here every once in a while
...if you can manage to get away from the stove, that is.
End of update.
Chef Joe D is at it again! Alabama is in for a treat...
October 27, 2009
Saza Serious Italian Food will open to the public tonight after Monday's invitation-only open house.
The restaurant, run by Montgomery restaurant owner Ken Register and chef Joe DiMaggio Jr., cousin to the Hall of Fame baseball player, is the third business to open in the Alley. The Alley Bar and Dreamland BBQ opened there earlier this year.
Nearby, the restaurant and bar in the Renaissance Montgomery Hotel & Spa at the Convention Center and adjoining Wintzell's Oyster House complete a roster of six eating and drinking locations in a two-block area downtown and bring the concept of a entertainment district closer to reality.
Saza has a decidedly Bohemian atmosphere with everything from its menu -- pizzas that go far beyond the pepperoni-and-mushroom variety -- to its decor. At the open house, an artist painted an original work as guests sampled food.
Register, who is known for his Olive Room and Down The Street eateries, said Saza would begin serving dinner at 6 tonight and lunch at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
Linda Cater took it all in from the covered Alley outside the door on Monday evening and said she was more than a little pleased to have Saza, more for its menu than for anything else.
"I am so excited to have serious Italian food," she said, noting it is her favorite style of cooking.
Greg Allen and Jere Beasley, partners in the nearby Beasley Allen Law Firm, said the concept was perfect for the Alley project. They also are partners in the building that houses Saza and soon will have another restaurant, along with retail shops and upstairs residential space in the area.
Allen said work on those projects would pick up steam now that Saza is complete.
"It is a tremendous place, more than I expected," he said.
The restaurant will seat 110, with 83 inside and the remainder on a patio. Register predicted that the staff would be able to turn the tables twice in an evening, meaning a little more than 200 people will be able to dine in a single night.
On Monday, kitchen workers shuffled pizzas in and out of the ovens, watching them vanish as soon as they were placed on what amounts to an eat-in bar overlooking the open kitchen.
Elsewhere, part of the 41 people hired to operate the restaurant, served finger foods and offered drinks to visitors.
DiMaggio and Register each are veterans of multiple opening nights, but they said every time a new place opens, they get a familiar feeling.
"It is still opening-night jitters, but we are so excited," DiMaggio said.
Register said he was cornered by strangers frequently in the past few days as people asked when Saza would open.
"I am on cloud nine," he said.
When kitchen training started two weeks ago, people would come in and ask if it was open, he said. He told them to return, but fed as many as possible with the test pizzas.
"The feedback is just awesome," he said.
He generated a good level of pre opening buzz...
In early September, the Alley will start sporting some Italian flair with the opening of Sa Za’s Serious Italian Food. The name means “slice” in Italian slang, and that’s just what you’ll find at this restaurant—slice upon slice of delicious pizzas, along with other Italian dishes. The original Sa Za’s was in Naples, Fla., and it is the brainchild of celebrity chef Joe DiMaggio Jr. Montgomery restaurateur Ken Register is a partner in the company that’s opening the Sa Za’s in the Alley, and he’s excited about both the restaurant and having Chef DiMaggio here. “Chef Joe is moving here; that’s really a big deal for the city,” he said. According to Register, DiMaggio may get people in the door, but the authentic tastes will bring them back. “The food is amazing,” he said. “Most of the recipes are from Chef Joe’s grandmother. He grew up in Italy and then New York’s Little Italy working in his family’s restaurant.”