Don't get us wrong: We love the man's food. We're fascinated with Eataly. We've traveled to New York just for Babbo's tasting menu. Our friends in Los Angeles taunt us about Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza regularly. But what will he do to Fort Point?
Last week, a big article ran in the Globe about how Fort Point is not the Seaport. It's funkier, indier, grittier. Yep, the neighborhood has attracted some big-name chefs — Barbara Lynch and Ming Tsai, for instance — but they're our big-name chefs. Will Batali steal some of their limelight? (Batali's Babbo is opening mere steps from Tsai's new Asian gastropub, Blue Dragon, at 320 Summer St.)
In the short term, a Batali boost might be great for the neighborhood, especially if his restaurant overflows and curious people, otherwise unfamiliar with the neighborhood, trickle out to nearby restaurants. But what if Batali sets a precedent for other nationally known chefs to settle down in Fort Point? Could it simply become a spillover Seaport, by power of Batali?
Importantly, Batali isn't trying to out-glitz anyone: He's not going for a second rendition of Del Posto or even Babbo (despite the name); this Babbo is going to be a simple pizzeria, in keeping with the neighborhood's casual vibe. He's trying to be one of us. But is he?
Fort Point a draw for restaurateurs [Globe]
Earlier: Mario Batali’s Babbo Pizzeria Definitely Opening in Boston