Nov. 24, 2010 - Issue #788 : Wool On Wolves
Brand new Aroma
Venerable Italian eatery given a complete overhaul
After closing for weeks of renovations in May, That's Aroma experienced a serious overhaul. Gone are the paintings on the wall of cartoon garlic figures—That's Aroma's makeover has taken the interior from so-so to sophisticated, a refined look that is exactly what new general manager Manuel Proaño wanted to create.
"When I first came in here I thought the design was a nightmare," explained Manual. "I knew with the renovation I wanted to get rid of everything from the garlic paintings to the carpet to the VLTs in the lounge. We had a completely different look in mind for an updated That's Aroma and we wanted this space to feel refined and stylish."
Manuel has the background and experience to make That's Aroma's revival a tasty success. His father Gonzalo Proaño was a chef within the Sorrentino's Restaurant Group for a few years before he and Manual were offered the opportunity to partner in Oliveto Trattoria in Riverbend Square. Two years later, four men in the Proaño family have taken a 50 percent partnership in That's Aroma with a vision of modeling the restaurant into a success similar to the south side location.
"When we came in the menu was all over the place—there were pastas with East Asian and curry sauces, it had a Greek Salad, and the lounge menu had burgers," explained Manuel. "We're 100 percent Italian now; the menu still has a lot of garlic but now everything is authentic Italian."
With father Gonzalo taking over the reins in the kitchen, the dishes are now completely made fresh in house and boast recipes with a successful track record. "The menu is very similar to Olivetto, and the dishes there have been very popular with customers," describes Gonzalo. "Right now I am training the staff to learn the menu exactly how I make it. I want consistency. I want quality, every time."
While some pre-reno regulars are surely missing some of the older items, the Proaño men are committed to the trattoria-style menu with traditional and rustic home-style roots. "If you want a curry sauce, go to the Indian restaurant down the street. If you want something with an Asian flavour, go to the Wokery across the street. If you want burgers, go to McDonalds. If you come to That's Aroma you're going to get quality authentic Italian food, every time." V
Manuel and Gonzalo Proaño
11010 - 101 St, 780.425.6777
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