Boston, MA Tiffani Faison, celebrated chef, restaurateur and TV personality, and her Boston-based restaurant group, Big Heart Hospitality, has opened a new restaurant, Tenderoni’s, in the city’s Fenway neighborhood.
The “Italian-American-ish” concept places fun and delicious at the forefront of the guest experience while offering a raucous atmosphere inspired by the best of 70’s and 80’s nostalgia. The flagship Tenderoni’s features 140 seats, two bars, and a takeout window for pizza slices, soft serve and select to-go items. Tenderoni’s Fenway is located at 1363 Boylston St., in Faison’s former Tiger Mama restaurant space. It expands upon her popular Tenderoni’s location within High Street Place.
“I’m really excited about this brand. It is the kind of place where you can really let your hair down and that fun spirit carries through in menu, design and atmosphere. This will be our mothership location, and I’m really excited to show off what we’ve been working on,” said Faison.
Look for Tenderoni’s signature 2.5-foot-long pizzas with crave-able, chewy, crunchy crust, loaded with cheese and crisped to perfection, as well as a number of hit pizzas, such as Sausage ‘n Peps and Shishito & Salumi. Newcomers making their debut at Tenderoni’s Fenway include Burrata & Marsala Pizza with Crispy Shitakes & Local Burrata and Giardiniera Pizza with Red & White Sauce, Pickled Peppers, Giardiniera, Pizza Shake & Pecorino.
Faison and veteran culinary director of Big Heart Hospitality, Dan Raia, collaborated to expand Tenderoni’s Fenway’s menu beyond pizzas with an unabashedly fun menu of favorites, and in true Faison style, a few surprises. There are appetizers such as North End Mayo Shrimp with Calabrian Chili Mayo, Grilled Lemon, Fennel & Parsley, and Old Man Clams, Littlenecks, All the Garlic – & Fennel, as well as Big Salads like the Tenderoni Chop with Escarole, Radicchio, Iceberg, Grilled Broccoli, Provolone, Giardiniera, Salumi, Roasted Peppers, Mushrooms, & Creamy Italian. Faison’s deft hand with pastas are evident in dishes like Track Suit Shrimp Scampi with U12 Shrimp, Lots of Garlic & Lots of Butter and Ricotta Cavatelli with Broccoli Fonduta, Melty Onions & Lemony Chili Breadcrumbs while “Dinnah” entrées round out the menu with dishes such as Lemon Fried Chicken, Garlicky Parm Mayo, Arugula, Radicchio, Cherry Pepper Hot Honey & Frico, and the Swordfish Cacciatore with Peppers, Onions, Roasted Tomato & Cerignola Olives.
For dessert, Big Heart Hospitality’s Pastry Chef Dee Steffen Chinn, who was named Best Pastry Chef in 2019 by Boston magazine, worked with Faison to develop a whimsical and extensive soft serve ice cream program, including a variety of sundaes. A winter stand out is the Peppermint Stick Sundae with Chocolate Soft Serve, Fudgy Brownie, Chocolate Candy Cane Dip, White Chocolate Peppermint Sauce, Peppermint Sprinks & Sweet Whip. Guests can also choose from one of four different signature dipped cones or customize their own. Tenderoni’s also offers a number of playful desserts like the Nona’s Pistachio Cake with House-Made Pistachio Whip & Maraschino Cherry.
Both of Tenderoni’s vibrant bars will feature cocktails that seamlessly blend the unexpected with wildly fun and reimagined classics as well seasonally-rotating specialties. Guests can explore drinks celebrating of-the-moment flavors like the Flutter Pony with Bourbon, Peach, Yellow Chartreuse, Cranberry & Lemon or make it a party with one of the restaurant’s shareable cocktails like Toga! Toga! with Vodka, House Made SoCo, Sloe Gin, Galliano, Blood Orange & Lemon. Tenderoni’s also introduces an adventurous Bottled and Canned cocktail program with several options to choose from including Kiss Them For Me with Blanco Tequila, Mezcal, Ginger, Crème de Menthe & Lime Acid and Rowdy, Reckless Boomtown Bars with St. George Dry Rye Gin, Cynar, Yellow Chartreuse & Orange Bitters. Cocktails join a list of fun and familiar wines including selections of Red, White, Bubbles and Pink varieties, available both by the glass and by the bottle. A fitting lineup of ice cold crushable and celebrated regional brews are also available.
Faison guided the PCA architecture team on the interior design of Tenderoni’s Fenway with the goal of capturing the eclectic vibe of a 70s and 80s disco roller rink. Studying the period’s bold fashions, colors, graphics, and pop culture icons, Tenderoni’s celebrates the disco rink experience in full. The interior features animal prints splashed everywhere from fabrics to wall and column coverings to accent pieces. LED neon light fixtures and even the floor, with its curving stripes and period colors, bring the 70s and 80s together. Three mirror disco balls, built by hand in Louisville, Kentucky by Omega National, which is the last American manufacturer of the iconic fixtures, echo the disco roller rink’s visual experience.
“We fell in love with the pure joy and energy that was such a big part of the roller rink experience,” said Dave Snell, Principal at PCA who led the restaurant’s design. “We clicked right away with Tiffani’s creative vision for the dining and bar spaces, and we really enjoyed working with her to bring these ideas into a lively, fun-based identity.”