Faccia Brutta and Bar Pallino open this week on Newbury Street

Faccia Brutta's menu is inspired by Italian coastal regions, while Bar Pallino offers a light food menu focusing on naturally produced wines.

Veteran chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette put their own spin on classic coastal Italian recipes and feature local purveyors and ingredients. Courtesy

Veteran chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s new restaurant and bar, Faccia Brutta and Bar Pallino, are all set to open at 278 Newbury St. on May 24. 

“We are taking reservations for May 24, so we better be ready,” Bissonnette told

“We’re just throwing caution to the wind,” he joked a week before the opening. “No, seriously, we’re ready.”

Faccia Brutta’s menu is inspired by Italian coastal regions, but Oringer and Bissonette put their own spin on recipes and look to local purveyors and ingredients.

The opening menu will be light and fresh with a crudo section that includes langoustine with apple and pickled rhubarb, which is inspired by “time spent in Venice,” said Bissonnette, and a black bass crudo inspired by “a raw fish dish eaten in Sicily.”

Chefs Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer outside Faccia Brutta on Newbury Street.

The snacks section lists pan con tomate, a crisped bruschetta made with bread from Brookline’s Clear Flour bakery, and the veggies section has crispy stuffed squash blossoms and fried artichokes.


There will be two large-sized “for the table” dishes: a farmers market salad — “because we’re just 75 yards from the Copley Square farmer’s market,” said Bissonnette — and also an antipasti platter of raw vegetables, crudite style, and some blanched ones, like roasted peppers marinated in wine vinegar.

The housemade pastas include bucatini — with Gulf shrimp, pine nuts, and saffron — and pansotti, filled with Swiss chard and ricotta.

“This dish is common to Liguria, but usually it’s served with a pesto. We’re finishing it with brown butter, fiddleheads, and walnuts,” said Bissonnette.

“Very important,” he added. “We’ll also have a separate gluten-free pasta kitchen, so we can be sure of no contamination.”

One of the dishes at Faccia Brutta

Desserts include bombolone, a classic Italian filled doughnut — Faccia Brutta’s boasts rhubarb and lemon verbena jam; and housemade gelato and sorbet, whose flavors, like much of the menu, will change with the seasons.

Faccia Brutta’s interior has a central bar and features custom light fixtures.

“They are huge welded metal with, well, it looks like stained glass,” said Bissonnette.

It also includes royal blue banquettes paired with chairs in a natural wood finish with mustard yellow cushions.

Faccia Brutta, which means “ugly face” in Italian, and Bar Pallino, a wine bar with a light food menu and a focus on naturally produced wines, expand Oringer and Bissonnette’s JK Food Group.


Other restaurants in the group include Spanish tapas bar Toro on Washington Street, Italian-themed Coppa on Shawmut Avenue, and Little Donkey, a global fusion seafood place in Cambridge’s Central Square. Oringer also owns Uni in Back Bay’s Eliot Hotel.

The vegetable antipasti features raw vegetables, crudite style, and some blanched ones, like roasted peppers marinated in wine vinegar.

Chef Brian Rae, a five-year vet at Coppa, will move over to head the kitchen. JK Group beverage director Jodie Battles steps up as a Bar Pallino and Faccia Brutta partner. Jan Brown, formerly of Seaport bar Drink, was brought in to execute a lively cocktail program.

“He’s created a great spritz section, which will be perfect for our patio this summer,” said Bissonnette.

Faccia Brutta is open Tuesday through Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday through Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. Bar Pallino is open nightly, 5 p.m. to midnight.


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