After 33 years in downtown Frederick, Nido’s Little Italy Ristorante will close its doors and reopen with a new concept.
The restaurant at 111 E. Patrick St. will undergo some renovations and reopen with a new name and menu in a few weeks. The ownership changed in August when Dante Liberatore bought the restaurant. He owns a number of eateries called Liberatore’s Ristorantes in Maryland.
The new restaurant, however, will have an entirely new concept, although it will still serve Italian fare.
Liberatore said the new name will have the word “spuntino” in it, which essentially means small plate or snack in Italian. The restaurant will serve these sharable plates in addition to entrees.
“What tapas is to Spain, spuntino is to Italy,” Liberatore said.
Liberatore hopes that just as people have grown accustomed to the word “tapas,” that they will learn what spuntinos are as well.
Liberatore said the restaurant will maintain much of its key staff, but has also added staff members. He does not intend to do large renovations on the restaurant, but wants the space to feel more open, he said.
“It’s time to say farewell to the old Nido’s and bring in a new, more vibrant and energetic location,” Liberatore said.
While he wasn’t sure if he would completely change the restaurant when he bought it last summer, Liberatore said that he did notice that the restaurant was going through a “lull.” It seemed that sales were down, and the space was in need of an update.
Liberatore plans to pay homage and respect to the outgoing restaurant, which has been a staple in the downtown community since 1987.
“I think a restaurant that’s been around since 1987 like Nido’s deserves a proper farewell,” he said.
The restaurant’s last day will be Saturday. Until then, the restaurant will celebrate its roots by offering menu items at 1987 prices.
There will also be an all-day celebration on Saturday, complete with ’80s music and a guest book that visitors can sign with their memories of the restaurant.
Kara Norman, executive director of the Downtown Frederick Partnership, said she is excited to see the restaurant reopen.
“We’re really excited to learn more about their new concept and certainly are really glad to see businesses reinvesting,” she said.
The new restaurant is expected to open in late March.
“People got engaged there, people have had birthdays there, you got to give it a proper farewell,” Liberatore said. “I really am proud to own this place.”