Kids of the 70s and 80s remember the era when pizza night was the ultimate in good times. Those vibes are back in full force for everyone to enjoy in the Fenway with the opening of James Beard Award-nominated chef Tiffani Faison’s Tenderoni’s.
The corner of Boylston and Kilmarnock will spring back into action on Friday, November 25th (NOT Tuesday, November 22nd as they’d originally hoped) with the newest offering from Faison’s Big Heart Hospitality Group, right down the road from her flagship Sweet Cheeks Q, and in the space formerly occupied by Tiger Mama. The “Italian-American-ish” concept will be a bigger, bolder (and true to the Fenway, a little more raucous) version of Tenderoni’s in the High Street Market downtown, with 140 seats, two bars, and a takeout window for pizza slices, ice cream and other to-go goodies.
Get ready to gorge on Tenderoni’s signature 2.5-foot-long pizzas, which are loaded with cheese and crisped up to perfection with lots of chewy, crunchy crust. Go for the classics like Cheese Please with mozzarella, Fontina, parmesan, and crispy cheese, or the namesake Tenderoni with red sauce, mozzarella, Fontina and roni cups; or go for some tried-and-true combos like Sausage ‘n Peps (red sauce, hot Italian sausage, onions & peppahs) or Shishito & Salumi (red sauce, fontina, ricotta, charred shishitos, salumi). There’ll be some new pies rounding out the menu too (well, actually they’re square), like Burrata & Marsala Pizza with crispy shiitakes and local burrata, and Giardiniera Pizza with red and white sauce, pickled peppers, giardiniera, pizza shake and Pecorino.
There is also lots more to love on the menu beyond pizza, with apps like North End Mayo Shrimp with Calabrian chili mayo, grilled lemon, fennel and parsley; and Old Man Clams (littlenecks with all the garlic and fennel). There’s big grindahs (chicken parm, eggplant, and Italian), as well as salads like the Tenderoni Chop (escarole, radicchio, iceberg, grilled broccoli, provolone, giardiniera, salumi, roasted peppers, mushrooms and creamy Italian), plus pasta plates like Ricotta Cavatelli with broccoli fonduta, melty onions and lemony chili breadcrumbs and “Dinnah” entrées like Lemon Fried Chicken with garlicky parm mayo, arugula, radicchio, cherry pepper hot honey and frico; and Swordfish Cacciatore with peppers, onions, roasted tomato and Cerignola olives.
If there’s any room for dessert after your feast, Big Heart’s pastry chef Dee Steffen Chinn has a decadent dessert lineup including soft-serve ice creams of all stripes, which you can customize with four different dipped cones, or go for combos like a Peppermint Stick Sundae with chocolate soft serve, fudgy brownie, chocolate candy cane dip, white chocolate peppermint sauce, peppermint sprinks and sweet whip.
The drinks menu is a fun and funky mix of reimagined classics, rotating specialties and some all-new concoctions with everything from classic orange soda and root beer to a bottled and canned cocktail program, to shareable large format drinks like the Toga! Toga! with vodka, house made SoCo, sloe gin, Galliano, blood orange and lemon. There’s also a curated selection of perfectly pizza-friendly wines available by the glass and bottle, and a bevy of ice cold regional beers.
The space was collaboratively designed by Faison and Cambridge’s PCA Architecture to play up the feel of a 70s and 80s-era disco roller rink — and basically take you down to Funkytown — with a real Lisa-Frank-meets-Trapper-Keeper vibe of bold animal prints, LED neon light fixtures, curving stripes and period colors, plus three hand-built mirror disco balls from Omega National, the last American manufacturer of the iconic fixtures.
Tenderoni’s Fenway is open seven days a week at 5:00pm for dine-in dinner and drinks, and the takeout window will be open for lunch, plus there are plans to expand for brunch in the new year (including a drag brunch). Check out their menus, make a reservation and more on the website, and follow them on IG for updates.