Il Buco is one of those restaurants that any in-the-know New Yorker has definitely been too, and if they haven’t – it’s on their list. But when partners Donna Lennard and Alberto Avalle opened their first location on Bond Street back in 1994, the little storefront was a far cry from the restaurant empire it has become today. In fact, it wasn’t even a restaurant at all! It was an antiques shop, selling small odd and ends from the couple’s travels around the country and the world. Soon, they began serving fresh Italian favorites in the backyard to friends and store-regulars. The private meals became a hit, so they procured a wine license and opened Il Buco as we know it today.
With the success of Il Buco, Lennard expanded by opening the Alimentari & Vineria around the corner on Great Jones St., which pays homage to the classic Italian markets by serving up house baked breads, fresh pastries, and delicious coffee first thing in the mornings. They also have a mouth-watering market-inspired menu for lunch and dinner, all served in their fabulously decorated second location, which plays off of the same rustic, antique Mediterranean style as the original Il Buco.
I have to say that this is one of my favorite restaurant stories, because it really is about honoring the timeless style, taste, and atmosphere of Italian lifestyle – from the hand-picked tablewares, to the antique Mediterranean-inspired interiors, every piece of both these fabulous restaurants truly does feel like stepping outside of the hectic streets of New York, and into the Italian country side, where the flavors are just a scrumptious as the rustic, antique decorations.
What’s even more exciting is that almost two decades after the original store on Bond Street was opened, Lennard and Avalle have returned to their roots with a new showroom for Il Buco Vita, an Italian homewares line that is inspired by the artisans and makers that originally made up the interiors of Lennard and Avalle’s restaurants. How right up my alley is this? Couldn’t love more that they are honoring the artisans of these amazing handcrafted goods. Keep your eyes peeled for a longer feature on this subject.
What more could we possibly ask for? There will definitely be more to come on Il Buco Vita, so keep an eye out as I explore this fabulous world of authentic Italian design and interiors.