Story by Rebekah Skochinski, Photo by Tyler Sklazeski
For over 27 years, Giorg Ristorante has been an integral piece in our city’s culinary history. Tucked into an unassuming corner of downtown Fort William, it has quietly been working the same magic that has seen devoted clientele returning year after year, clamouring for that taste of Italy, for that taste of home.
Restaurateurs Bianca Garofalo and Katrina Oostveen are no strangers to the dynamic TBay food scene, nor to the traditions of this intimate and well-established eatery. “Giorg was the place we came to for special occasions when we were younger,” says Garofalo. “When the opportunity came to purchase the business [after former owners Pat and Don Mastroianni retired] I knew we had to take it.”
The space has been reinvigorated, with changes that only serve to enhance the already cozy and rustic features, and highlighting the wonderful open kitchen. In addition to the expanded wine menu, they will have local beer on tap from Sleeping Giant Brewing Company and will be adding a cocktail menu, as well as doing some thoughtful tweaking to the food menu. “We really want to keep what people love, while at the same time attracting people who have never been, or who haven’t been in a while,” says Garofalo. Neil Puzzella, formerly the sous chef at Bight Restaurant, will be the executive chef at Giorg and brings with him a lot of ingenuity and passion. “He’s a very committed young man, a very talented up and comer,” says Oostveen.
Both Oostveen and Garofalo have only positive things to say about this new venture and about working on the south side of town. “It’s really great here, we have met a lot of great people and we’re excited to be a part of what we think will be a trend for new business,” says Garofalo. And as much as there may be a few changes here and there, what will remain unchanged is the respect and love for the restaurant that won their hearts so many years ago. “We want this to be the place people come to for that fine casual dining experience, a place dedicated to good Italian comfort food.”
Giorg is located at 114 Syndicate Avenue North (behind the new courthouse)