Here’s the first thing you need to know about Dana Wronski’s new position at Besos: Tio Mateo’s/Greenwich Bay Gourmet is not changing. That’s happy news for the many customers devoted to the downtown lunch-and-takeout staple.
Wronski will divide her time between the two eateries, which are conveniently close by each other. Her new position as general manager of Besos, however, will allow her to use some of the skills that have lain dormant since she and Matt Wronski first came to East Greenwich and opened Greenwich Bay Gourmet 14 years ago.
“I love this environment,” Wronski said during a recent interview at Besos. “This is what I used to do for so long.”
Wronski ran restaurants in New York City and San Francisco in the 1980s and ’90s.
“We came here because I was fried. I was burned out running a restaurant in San Francisco,” she said. “That was a huge place and a huge job and the kids were little. Being able to come here and just really downscale and raise the kids was a blessing. But now, they’re all squared away.”
Last year, Wronski began “putting out feelers” in the restaurant community, but nothing just right presented itself, so she dove back into her work at Tio’s/GBG.
“I just kind of let it go and then Kristin said, ‘Do you want to go for coffee?’” said Wronski. “I had no idea. I was very surprised” when Dellagrotta suggested they join forces at Besos.
Dellagrotta opened Besos at 378 Main St. in late 2011 with Tony Morales, then chef at Fresco. Last week she said their two visions for the restaurant had shifted apart and Morales had decided to open a restaurant on Federal Hill. For Dellagrotta, Wronski was a natural choice to step in.
“I’ve known her quite a while,” she said of Wronski. “I know she had a ton of fining dining experience. She had opened several restaurants, run restaurants, worked in every aspect. She’s a fabulous chef as well. She was the perfect choice, not to mention everybody likes her.”
Besos, with Wronski at the helm, will move away from South American specialties and toward contemporary American cuisine using local ingredients. They will keep some of the small plate offerings that have been popular, as well as the Sunday brunch.
“We’d like for Dana to be creative and bring her expertise to the menu. Our chefs are fabulous as well and they’ve got ideas too,” said Dellagrotta.
For Wronski, the size and the feel of Besos were major selling points.
“It’s small. I love that it’s beautiful…. it feels comfortable,” she said. “It needed to be small and doable for me in terms of where I am in my life. I couldn’t take on a massive space. Nor do I want all the headache and the drama. With a smaller space, I think you can really do what you set out to do.”
“I want to take it from good to great,” Wronski said, acknowledging that Besos hadn’t been running at top form. “I just think it needs some tweaking.”
She added, “It’s hard to build heart and this place has heart.”
Besos, 378 Main St., East Greenwich, is open at 11 a.m. for lunch, 4 p.m. for dinner; (401) 398-8855.
And, if you like what you’re reading, consider supporting East Greenwich News by clicking here.