Dante plans to close its Blackstone location in April and replace it with a new, full-service Italian restaurant.

The new restaurant, Forno, will focus on shared plates and pizza.

Owner Nick Strawhecker said the current fast-casual version of Dante, which opened at 3852 Farnam St. in late 2017, didn’t perform as expected.

“Blackstone, and Omaha, wanted something else from us,” he said. “I think in time it would have turned around, but I don’t want to wait.”

The final day for Dante Pizzeria Napoletana will be April 13. In the two weeks following, the space will be remodeled into Forno, which is Italian for “oven.” It’s expected to open in late April.

The restaurant will serve wood-fired Italian shared plates, including vegetables, whole fish, chicken and beef. The menu will rotate seasonally, and include new pizza selections. The only holdover from the previous restaurant’s menu will be the Margherita pizza.

Forno’s menu won’t include traditional “appetizers” and “entrées,” Strawhecker said. Rather, diners will choose a handful of items to share. Dishes will be delivered as they are ready.

Strawhecker said Forno will have little in common with the west Omaha Dante; no dishes will overlap between the restaurants.

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Restaurant operations director Justin Gilmore created a new drink menu that will include negronis, spritzers and Italian spirits, and a larger, more accessible wine list. The space also will include a standing cocktail bar, which will replace Dante’s counter where customers place their order. Diners also will be treated to a digestif, a free house drink, after meals.

The restaurant plans to serve brunch, beginning in early June.

Forno will not take reservations. Further information, via social media and a website, are coming soon.

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