This weekend, one of the original restaurants at The Gateway shopping center in Salt Lake City will serve its last meal. Z’Tejas Southwestern Grill is closing Saturday. While there is a growing list of closures at The Gateway, one restaurant is opening this month that promises a new experience.
The restaurant is located on the Southeast corner of The Gateway with an entrance on 400 West. It was formerly an Italian restaurant called Biaggi’s that shut down last year. But where some of the tables used to be, there is now a stage with a piano and upright bass. Ken Millo, former owner of Cucina Tuscana, has a new vision.
“It’s patterned after 1930’s supper club, so we have a dining room that’s centered around a large stage, with live jazz music every night,” Millo says.
It will be called DOPO. In Italian, that means next. For Millo, the word is loaded with meaning. The food at DOPO is supposed to represent what happens next after Italians migrated to different parts of the world in the first half of the 20th century. So a dish may have Italian origins, but have influences from Argentina, Brazil, Greece, Portugal, or North Africa. The consulting chef Elio Scanu has roots in both Italy and Venezuela. DOPO is also what’s next for Ken Millo personally.
“Frankly, we were not sure that we were going back into the restaurant business, but this space, with help from the owners of the mall made it possible, so here we are going into business again,” he says.
Millo did not want to elaborate on the deal with The Gateway owners, but he said it was a favorable long term lease that involved a generous tenant improvement budget. He says he’s not deterred by other businesses leaving The Gateway.
“This is a labor of love,” Millo says. “I’ve dreamt of having a jazz venue, and I guess it’s sort of an ‘if you build it they will come’ experiment.”
Dopo will be open for dinner 6 nights a week, with live jazz every night, hosted and curated by musician and ethnomusicologist Lloyd Doc Miller. Renovation is still underway. Millo says opening night should be sometime this month.