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This article was published 3/12/2011 (3608 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
WHAT do you do when you name your eight-month-old restaurant after your only child, Brooklynn -- and your wife is about to have a new baby?
"I'm looking for a second place!" laughs 38-year-old Sam Colosimo, owner of Brooklynn's Bistro, at 177 Lombard Ave. He's not kidding. "The new restaurant will be in the south end -- on Corydon, Academy or maybe the Linden Woods area. "They need something great there -- same style, with a big lounge."
Three-year-old Brooklynn's daddy has found a formula that works: tasty Italian food, sophisticated décor, great location. He's packing 'em in at his upscale Italian restaurant with accompanying Boa lounge across the hall.
Brooklynn's, behind the Fairmont Hotel, is becoming a favourite of pro sports teams. Members of the Jets, Bombers, Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Philadelphia Flyers have all eaten there recently. It's a great place to carb-load in style and it doesn't hurt that there's a private dining room for 18-20 boisterous big guys at the back of the Boa.
The new business, housed in the Exchange in the stately old Craig Wireless Building (Great West Life Assurance is still etched into the stone as well) is also well-situated for celebrities.
"The Fairmont and the Inn at the Forks are always sending people over. Music, film and theatre stars soon find their way. And, former playboy model Shannon Tweed watched the first half of a hockey game there when she was in town with husband Gene Simmons of KISS for his Rich and Famous business seminar at the Centennial Concert Hall. Little Brooklynn is often present for photographs in the big white restaurant with the floor-to-ceiling windows.
"Sometimes we introduce her to people and they take pictures with her," says her dad. Adds Brooklynn, with a big grin. "Yup! I come here with Nanny and Papa and I eat pizza."
Brooklynn's pizzas have a special taste because of the wood-burning pizza oven, but the restaurant is about much more than pizza. "It's food like I was brought up with, but with a modern feel," says Colosimo.
One specialty is Forbidden Pasta. It's black-coloured, because the house-made fettuccini is infused with black squid Ink. The dish's medium-spicy sauce has a citrusy taste combining lemon, capers, chilies and tomatoes.
"We've never had anyone who didn't like it," says night manager Vicki Niemez.
Customers also go crazy for their primo desserts, such as the zambaglione, flavoured with port-like liqueur marsala and the chocolate ganache, "which oozes chocolate like hot lava, when you first cut into it," says day manager Mike Stans.
Some customers by-pass the restaurant and head straight for the bar which is big, comfy and dark, with oversize black velvet banquettes and giant globular light fixtures.
There's a roomy VIP bar area for 40 on the raised area at the front, with a large dance floor and tables behind that.
Owner Colosimo is no stranger to the nightclub business, having opened Blush, Mystique, Desire, Rock Bar, Fame and the new Greenroom On Osborne where Die Maschine used to be.
Stans says the Boa is already holding its own with the bars around the Exchange, especially on weekends. On Saturday night, they're popular with the 25-and-up crowd. "We have line-ups as long as Whiskey Dix and Alive. People are all dressed up, well-to-do and dying to get in here."
Bands like Down With Webster and Hedley both made that scene at Boa lounge preceding WE Day.
Colosimo says he named the lounge to appeal to both sexes. 'It's Boa as in boa constrictor, playing off the men -- and also could be feather boa, which appeals to women."
Famous bands and deejays are commonplace. "We're doing 'Live on Lombard' with Hot 103 FM, Warners and Universal Studios, where we have 80 fans at a meet-and-greet at happy hour before a concert.
"There's lots of parking nearby and the street is lit up. And we find our clientele is older than the people on the other side (of Main Street)," he adds. Niemez, who works most evenings in the area, says safety is not an issue in the east Exchange area. "There's more people around now with a lot of new residential buildings, and more people in the area all the time."
Maureen Scurfield writes the Miss Lonelyhearts advice column.