Mare Mediterranean to open in Cameron's spot
By Lisa Brody
Restaurateur Nino Cutraro, owner of Bella Piatti in downtown Birmingham, will open Mare Mediterranean in the former Cameron's location at 115 Willits Street, featuring freshly cooked fish from Greece and Sicily.
Cutraro, along with partner Jay Feldman of Feldman Automotive Group, are modeling Mare (pronounced Maa-ray) Mediterranean on Estiatorio Milos in New York City, Las Vegas, Miami, London and Montreal, with its signature kitchen and fish market serving fresh Mediterranean food, notably from Greece and Italy.
Cutraro, who will be running the restaurant, said the new restaurant will feature a big display of fish flown over from Greece and Sicily, where diners can select their fish as well as how they would like it cooked, along with other Greek specialties. He is hoping to open by August or September of this year.
“We want to make sure the pandemic is over before we open,” Cutraro said. At the beginning, he said, the restaurant will have about 120 seats. In addition, he said they have applied to the city of Birmingham for an outdoor platform to accommodate 40 seats on Willits Street for outdoor seating, “like at Bella's.” Bella Piatti has a large outdoor platform.
Cutraro said the former Cameron's location will be completely renovated, with a brighter look. He said they will be removing the dark wood as well as all non-structural columns near the kitchen and feature glass throughout leading to the kitchen. They will be adding new flooring, lighting, new fixtures and all new furnishings.
The bar will remain in place but will feature a new porcelain top.
A new lounge will be created in the front window area, offering couches, tables and other seating configurations.
The Cameron's Steakhouse location has been vacant since June 16, 2019, when the restaurant closed without advance notice to diners and staff. Cameron's originally opened in the Willits Building shortly after it opened in 2001 along with companion restaurant Mitchell's Fish Market. The Mitchell's Fish Market space has been reimagined as three casual locations: Sidecar, Shift and Slice.
Bella Piatti is an Italian old world bar/eatery located at 167 Townsend Street, with a bistro license, which Cutraro has owned for nine years.
Cutraro said the location has its own liquor license that he is in the midst of acquiring. He said they will go before the Birmingham Planning Board to request a special land use permit on May 26, and if recommended for approval, will then proceed to the city commission for final approval.