A new American fusion restaurant named Balani has opened on Moody Street. It takes the place of Raffaele’s Ristorante, which closed in spring 2018, according to an Oct. 29 Waltham Patch article. The restaurant’s Instagram page describes the restaurant as “making really tasty yums in a fun space.” 

According to an Oct. 26 Eater Boston article, Balani’s owner, Chef Dave Becker, runs two other restaurants in the Greater Boston area: Middle Eastern restaurant Juniper in Wellesley and Italian cuisine Sweet Basil in Newton. Becker purchased the space in July. 

Becker explained that during renovations he changed the paint colors “from almost goth colors to ’80s fabulous.” Balani also supports artists. An Oct. 28 Instagram post contains a picture of a painting created by Karen Moss, whose artwork has been featured at Brandeis’ own Women’s Studies Research Center. The post reads, “This almost sci-fi painting called ‘Robot Dog’ deftly aces the feeling here at Balani in Waltham.” Balani’s lounge is decorated with multiple Karen Moss paintings, according to an Oct. 27 Instagram post

For Balani, Becker brought together staff members who compose what he called his “hall of fame.” He told Eater Boston, “I’d rather work with a bunch of people where their heart’s in the right place — nice to each other, nice to guests, nice to me.” 

Balani’s menu was developed with its staff in mind. In the same article, Becker described the menu as “what we like to cook, what we like to eat.” If menu items aren’t popular, Becker added, “We’ll just kind of make them go away.” 

The restaurant also has a full liquor license, and managers are looking for opportunities to support local beer and wine sources, per Eater Boston. 

Balani can be found at 469 Moody Street and is open for dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.