Ninebark opens in West Newton, offering classic cuisine with fresh flare

When The Local—a Massachusetts restaurant and bar franchise—announced it was closing its West Newton location, Antonio De Trizio pounced on the opportunity to open something new in its place.

The local culinary veteran saw it as a rare opportunity to move into a prime location, where business is as good as promised.

“I saw the opportunity,” De Trizio said. “It’s proven, the space is worth it. I went out and I said, ‘We have to take it.’”

He and his partner, Nicolas Ruiz, came up with Ninebark, a restaurant whose new-American cuisine matches the style of its predecessor, but with a fresh take.

“We’re trying to take some recognizable dishes and put a little bit of a spin and elevation on it, just to make it something that maybe nobody else has seen, or at least, nobody else is doing,” said Todd Alsworth, Ninebark’s chef.

Previously, De Trizio had owned Latina Kitchen & Bar, an upscale South American eatery in Needham. He sold it last December, closing out a successful run from 2019 to 2023.

There, De Trizio met Ruiz, the front-of-house manager who would become the co-owner of Ninebark.

Ruiz said that at Latina, he and De Trizio had complemented each other’s abilities. Ruiz was skilled at managing the waitstaff and hosts, while De Trizio brought his expertise as a chef to oversee the kitchen.

“He has a lot of experience in the back of the house, you know, creating and managing plates and you know, all that kind of stuff,” Ruiz said. “I always worked in the front of the house.”

Before De Trizio started his 14-year-long career as a chef, he was a civil engineer, then an executive at a construction company in his native country of Venezuela.

“I changed from building roads and bridges and buildings to managing people,” De Trizio said.

He moved to the United States in 2010, attending culinary school at Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge.

“I wanted a change from civil engineering to culinary school,” De Trizio said. “It took me a little while to, you know, settle into the culinary thing. I think it’s worth it.”

Ninebark, a new restaurant launched by Antonio De Trizio and Nicolas Ruiz, recently opened in West Newton. Photo by Genevieve Morrison

Ruiz, who immigrated from Colombia 20 years ago, has been working in the culinary business for a decade and has completed an MBA at Cambridge College.

He said that over the course of his career, he’s become an expert in customer-facing jobs at restaurants.

“I actually occupied every position in the restaurant,” Ruiz said. “Bartender, server, everything.”

Alsworth said being managed by two owners with real industry experience is a game-changer.

“It’s been refreshing on every single level, working for two owners that have worked in the industry for quite a while,” Alsworth said. “They both know exactly what they’re doing.”

Alsworth said De Trizio’s professionalism shone through when it came time to order kitchen utensils for the restaurant, a duty that usually falls to the executive chef.

But before Alsworth could order anything, the mise-en-place of his dreams showed up, as if by magic. De Trizio had already bought everything the chef would need.

“I was opening things going, ‘I would have bought that, I would have bought that,’” Alsworth said. “I felt like a kid at Christmas. It was refreshing, just from the very basics, that they know what is needed to get the job done.”

De Trizio designed the menu at his first restaurant, but at Ninebark, he decided to give Alsworth creative control.

“I monitor everything, and I make sure what he’s putting on the menu, I like,” De Trizio said. “If I like it, I think people are gonna like it.”

While Ninebark’s owners are still settling into their newest venture, De Trizio said they have high hopes for the future of the business.

“It’s been, you know, up, up, up every week,” De Trizio said. “I think it’s going to continue growing, because again, it’s a great location.”

Todd Alsworth is the chef at Ninebark, a new restaurant that recently opened in West Newton. Photo by Genevieve Morrison

And everything about the eatery is designed for success, down to the name.

Ninebark is named for a white flower indigenous to Massachusetts. The restaurant’s website describes it romantically.

“​​Ninebark symbolizes hope and love, with a rich cultural past,” the website reads.

Ruiz, ever the entrepreneur, said he appreciates that the name doesn’t restrict how or where Ninebark can do business.

“The good thing about the name is it can be a nice commercial name, you know, if we want to open more restaurants,” Ruiz said.