Few restaurateurs show a passion for their ingredients like Donna Lennard, owner of the Bowery's much-beloved Il Buco.
For more than a decade, Lennard (who's also directed an award-winning film on the Umbrian olive harvest) has informally sold to loyal patrons the products she imports from Italy. Now, with the opening of Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, she extends this valuable service to the rest of us as well.
Like a more manageable Eataly, the Alimentari is home to a wide variety of essential imported ingredients, as well as Il Buco's own signature line of oils, vinegars and salts. Stock up on house-cured meats, such as the irresistible Prosciutto Americano; artisan cheeses from Ronnybrook Farm in upstate New York; and freshly baked breads.
When you're done filling up your pantry, head upstairs to the Vineria ("wine bar") for a glass of Sangiovese and a bowl of olives marinated in fennel pollen ($7), a slab of pane carasau (a crispy Sardinian flatbread) topped with creamy house-made ricotta ($14) or Il Buco's famous porchetta panino on crusty ciabatta ($15). Not just for casual dining, the stunning space, which overlooks a lush roof garden, is also available for private events.
Looks like the old country just got closer to home.
Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, 53 Great Jones St. (between Lafayette St. and Bowery); 212-837-2622 or ilbuco.com