A veteran crew of local restaurant professionals is bringing a new bar and dining experience to 1 South Orange Avenue early this March.
Osteria Del Corso will serve regional Italian cuisine in creative and surprising ways, as well as provide an inventive bar scene and beautifully redesigned interior spaces for events and parties.
The leadership team includes Billy Koester who opened The Fox & Falcon in 2018 and operated it until recently, and Chef Kris Welz who has run numerous kitchens in successful New York City restaurants.
“We’re going to play with dishes and do them justice by making them traditional,” said Welz. The chef is particularly excited about the pasta dishes which will all be made “in house” with Welz hand-rolling some and others coming from the Osteria’s “very own” pasta extruder.
The team is seeing the very large — approximately 10,000 sf of space on multiple floors with generous outdoor patio space — as a blessing.
“We want to really push events here, ” said Koester. “The outdoor patio is huge. It’s a really gorgeous space.” Koester says that between the outdoor space and upstairs space there is plentiful room for weddings, bands, karaoke and more.
The space now even includes a bocce court, which Koester thinks may be the only such indoor court in New Jersey: “Bocce’s coming back!”
The team remains undaunted by the opening of other restaurants such as the newly renovated Village Hall in South Orange Downtown.
“Absolutely a positive,” says Koester. “Anything that’s going to make South Orange more of a destination is a pro for us. There’s a huge influx of people right now coming into South Orange specifically and the surrounding areas and we need more quality bars and restaurants.”
“We don’t even see it as competition. It’s good for everybody.”
The leadership team does not include David Massoni, who previously announced that he would be opening Massoni Ristorante in the 1 South space. Massoni departed Fox & Falcon late last year after employees raised questions about his business practices. Massoni is no longer involved in either Fox & Falcon, nor the new 1 South Orange Avenue venture.
For the new Osteria Del Corso, Welz and Koester also talked about building a positive culture among staff.
“Our benefit, which hopefully is our future employees’ benefit, is the culture that Billy and I like to bring to the table,” says Welz. “Billy and I have worked together before, and keeping that restaurant culture in place—we want to be able to give back to our staff with knowledge and experience as well as them being able to give us incredible service.”
Adds Koester, “We’ve cultivated a fantastic staff. I’ve never worked with such a great staff as we have. With the culture that we create at our restaurants, it’s very positive. It’s very inclusive.”
Opening day is projected for March 1. Follow Osteria Del Corso on Instagram @delcorsonj.