Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria is the “quicker, friendly, livelier and less serious” little brother to Il Buco, the Noho Mediterranean establishment that owner Donna Lennard has managed for 17 years. Located around the corner on 53 Great Jones Street, Il Buco’s spin-off market is where you can grab a coffee from the espresso bar, lick a house-made gelato or indulge in porchetta and cheese sandwiches–served on bread made fresh on premise and put together by Alimentari’s chef Justin Smillie and store manager Aaron Oster.
“It’s been like a birth, an incredible long labor” reflects Lennard of opening Alimetari. She now offers her customers a chance to “create a beautiful feast” with products she uses at Il Buco or taste them in finished form at the place’s 125-seat restaurant, which has its soft opening on October 7. Indeed Il Buco Alimentari is an extension of the Il Buco lifestyle, with its array of imported homemade and dried pasta brought in from Sicily, rotisserie chicken, olives, selection of cured meats, olive oils, vinegars from Modena and Mediterranean spices.
The first floor of the 7,000 square-foot place is split in half with three steps divvying up the two spaces; the café is up front, where the salamis and cheese take center stage, along with a few high tables to lounge around and sip your coffee. Then at the back is the open kitchen and restaurant dining area. On the second floor will be a private party room; downstairs, there is a salumi room. Making her own cured meats has been a pet project, says Lennard: In the distant past, Il Buco made some and was shut down by the health department. Now the market has a legitimate license and Lennard is on a quest to eventually stock only her own in-house salt-cured salumi. “The salumi is a dream project,” says Lennard, “something we’ve been working on for many years with friends from Umbria” who cure meat and have come and taught her staff, along with Christopher Lee, Alimetari’s salumi consultant.
The restaurant will consist of small plates of cheese and salumi, which Lennard recommends guest share. “The idea is a little fast and friendly place” with a pizza and rotating seasonally inspired menu. It’s “much more casual,” she says, and “about tasting the oils, the products” and appetizers made from products sold in the market.