When Francesca's Forno closed a few weeks ago, everyone assumed it was to start the transformation to Panza. Instead, Francesca's Forno is keeping its name, but getting a fresh new menu and a whole new look. The bar, which is currently in the back of the restaurant, will be moved into the dining area in the front of the restaurant and communal tables will move to the back, where the bar once was, across from the kitchen. All of the windows on Milwaukee will open up to the action on the street and new artwork will be added to give the place a more fun and lively vibe.
The menu will get an overhaul as well, and Larry Tio (Mon Ami Gabi, Benny's Chop House) will serve as the new executive chef. Laco Seeber, former executive chef of Francesca's Forno, and currently consulting on many of the Francesca projects including the revamped Forno, describes the menu as "modern Italian food, more antipasti small plates, but not quite like any of our other restaurants."
Scott Harris, serious about the food, sent three of his chefs to Italy to do research for the menu. They plan to keep fresh pastas and charcuterie on the menu and will make more use of the restaurant's wood-fired oven, so expect to see more roasted items on the menu. Forno is scheduled to reopen in mid-July.
As for the donut shop that was once called Glaze and then Hole Lotta Love? It is now called Glazed and Confused and will still be located out the back door of Francesca's Forno.