Ciao for now, Ciao Baby. The Commack family-style Italian restaurant known for its gargantuan portions and rollicking vibe recently closed for a renovation of its interior and menu. When it reopens in the spring, it will be called Prato 850.
Partner Len Oliva said that “after 17 years, we wanted to make it more comfortable and more contemporary.” The centerpiece of the dining room will be a wood-burning oven imported from Italy. “850” refers to the ambient temperature inside the oven. “Prato” is a city in Tuscany best known for its textiles — it’s where Pratesi bed linens are from.
Oliva hopes to launch Prato 850 in April. In the meantime, there’s plenty going on at Ciao Baby’s second location in Massapequa (established in 2004). On March 26 the restaurant will host an “HK Takeover,” when five former contestants from Fox’s “Hell’s Kitchen” will gather to cook a five-course dinner.
First among “Hell’s Kitchen’s” equals will be Heather West, winner of season 2 and formerly Ciao Baby’s executive chef. She will be joined by Holbrook’s Barrett Beyer, who was a sous chef at Emporium in Patchogue when he was tapped to be a contestant in season 11 (he made it to episode 9), as well as non-LI chefs Cyndi Stanimirov (also season 11), Sterling Wright (13) and Milton “Milly” Medley (seasons 14 and 17).
Each chef will cook one course, and each course will be paired with a wine. Tickets are $128.58 apiece, which includes tip and tax. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Heather West’s charity, East End Play Dates Support Group for Long Island Moms with Postpartum Depression.
To purchase tickets, go to ciaobabyrestaurant.com/hk
Ciao Baby is at 50-74 Sunrise Hwy., Massapequa Park, 516-799-5200, ciaobabyrestaurant.com