Opening night at this spot in the former location of a great and long-lived South End original, On the Park. Facelift leaves no traces of the old space: it's very spare and dimly lit, cleverly taking advantage of lots of exterior street lights. Most window-side seating is no longer tables, but bar-style, an interesting choice.
Menu has pizzas in the low teens, a few salads and panini in the high single digits, and a few pasta dishes averaging around $13. Very short wine list, pretty reasonable, and bottled beers. We get the straw-bottle Chianti, and like the informal little cafe-style tumblers they serve it in.
The sausage pizza is maybe a 14" pie, with a fairly thin crust, sweetish carmelized onions, terrific sausage (not made in-house, we're told), and fresh-tasting tomato sauce. "Reminds me of a Figs pie", says my spouse, and I think that's about right. Service is very friendly and competent.
Aside from the Arctic breeze blowing through the front door (they need one of those Franklin Cafe-style door mufflers), the only real drawback is the horrible music blared here: very tired Motown and 70s funk, and some like-flavored modern R&B. Just dreadful, presumably the owners' taste (their background is the nightclub business: anyone remember the G Lounge?), and the sort of thing that will drive us to only get take-out here if it continues. I don't know who they think likes this kind of music, but I suspect most locals will be equally appalled.
In all, a very promising first visit, even though we really mourned the passing of On the Park. We'll be checking out their brunch (Sat and Sun) next. They plan to do weekday lunch here too.