October 12, 2009 | 7:49am
The imminent departure of chef Payton Curry from Digestif is the big news from this weekend.
After cooking at the restaurant through the Crave Arizona weekend (October 22 to 24), he'll join Caffe Boa,
restaurateur Jay Wisniewski
's popular restaurant just off Mill Avenue in Tempe. (Another Caffe Boa, in Ahwatukee, is unaffiliated.)
Wisniewski also plans to open a Mesa Caffe Boa within the next four weeks, at The Village at Las Sendas Center (2837 N. Power Rd., #102, Mesa).
Pending Curry's signature on the agreement they worked out (sealed with a handshake), Wisniewski says he'll have Curry oversee both operations, and will have newly hired chef Chris Lenza (formerly of Kai) working in Mesa after a few weeks of training in Tempe.
While the Tempe location will continue its current menu, eventually Curry will introduce new ideas. At the Mesa location, there will be a wood-burning oven and salumi station, in addition to the handmade pastas that Caffe Boa is known for.
What does this mean for Digestif? The restaurant already suffered a downsizing
when owner Peter Kasperski
moved it from its original SouthBridge location (now home to Joseph Gutierrez's Tutto
) to the space across the street that used to house Sea Saw
, making Curry practically a one-man-show in the tiny open kitchen. Kasperski currently owns neighboring Kazimierz World Wine Bar
and Cowboy Ciao.
Curry's new wife (as of yesterday) and Digestif manager Shantal Abdo Curry has also given notice. According to Digestif spokeswoman Mari Markogianis, the new Digestif team will be announced later this month.