Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Boston Herald talks with Jordan Knight

The Boston Herald interviewed Jordan about his involvement with the opening Novara in Milton, MA. He also mentions briefly that the New Kids on the Block will be touring in June. Here is the article:

NKOTB’s Jordan Knight helps bring Novara to East Milton

New Kids on the Block crooner Jordan Knight bets ambitious Italian eatery Novara has the right stuff to make East Milton Square a destination dining hot spot.

“I feel like this restaurant is going to put (East Milton) over the top and become a scene,” said Knight, a partner in the project. He gave the Herald an exclusive interview Monday night while noshing with his mom, wife, sisters and pals during a private preview dinner.

Novara opens to the public tomorrow, a large and dramatic new venture from restaurateur Vance Welch and the team behind Abby Park, just two doors down on Adams Street. Abby Park was the first full-­service restaurant in decades in sleepy, once-dry Milton when it opened in 2009.

Knight grew up in neighboring Dorchester with his famous 1980s boy-band brethren. He moved to Milton in 1997, has become an Abby Park regular and invested in Novara only at the last minute. And, no, he did not consult with fellow New Kid-turned-­restaurateur Donnie Wahlberg (Alma Nove, Wahlburgers) before making the leap.

“My involvement is real­ly organic,” said Knight. “I never wanted to be in the restaurant business. But I knew the owners. I knew they operated a great business and I knew that chef (Tony DeRienzo) made great and tasty food that’s always consistent. I knew he learned to cook from his Italian grandmother at an early age. That’s the best education possible and that was good enough for me.”

Novara is named for DeRienzo’s ancestral hometown in the Piedmont region of northern Italy. His menu features modern interpretations of pan-­regional Italian comfort food classics with local New England accents. DeRienzo, a Brockton native, studied at Johnson & Wales before working for such Boston chefs as Tony Ambrose and Lydia Shire.

Kick off dinner with Tuscan white bean soup, Sicilian tuno crudo or ground chicken saltimbocca sandwich. Mangia housemade pasta, highlighted by “Nonna’s” spaghetti and meatballs — a savory pork, veal and beef recipe straight from DeRienzo’s mother Raffaela.

Entrees include whole bronzini with lemon zest tomato cream; beef tenderloin with leek gorgonzola mashed potatoes; and classic cioppino, an Italian-American seafood stew in light tomato and saffron broth. Novara also serves thin-crust Neapolitan-style pizzas.

Novara’s other star attraction is a cavernous dining room in the re-purposed former Milton Cinema, designed by Steve Todisco (best known for his work with Davio’s).

The gleaming space with bright white tiles boasts a large 50-seat Carrara marble island bar, 23-foot-high ceilings with exposed wood, steel and utilities, and a massive, 16-foot TV above the open kitchen that replicates an old movie thea­ter screen. The brick-lined patio will open when warm weather returns, offering the neighborhood’s only al fresco dining.

Knight hits the road with his old NKOTB bandmates in June “just to keep our legs oiled,” he joked.

In meantime, expect to find him dining in East Milton.

“The area is ready for this kind of scene,” Knight said. “It’s great for Milton and that’s exciting to me, because this is my town.”

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