Restaurants & Bars
Vico To Bring 'Authentic Approach To Italian Food' To Farmingdale
Vico, which will feature Chef Eric LeVine of 317 Main Street, will serve pizza-by-the-meter and food inspired by Italy's Campania region.
Vico is set to open in Farmingdale in early 2022. Chef Eric LeVine, chef and partner of 317 Main Street, will head the kitchen. (Shutterstock)
FARMINGDALE, NY — Vico, a restaurant that will specialize in authentic Italian cuisine inspired by Vico Equense, a town on the Amalfi Coast of the Campania region of Italy, is slated to open in Farmingdale by early 2022. The location could not be disclosed yet, but it will be on Main Street, according to the owners.
The eatery will feature the same ownership as 317 Main Street, and Chef Eric LeVine will bring his culinary talents to the helm of the Vico kitchen as well. The menu will include "pizza-by-the-meter," a concept inspired by Pizza A Metro Da Gigino L'Università della Pizza in Vico Equense.
Pizza up to a few meters in length, cooked in a wood-burning oven, will be served to a group of people with different toppings. Individual pizzas, small plates, fresh pasta, meat and fish will also be available at a restaurant with a motto that will be, "Pizza. Pasta. Piccolo Piatti." Piccolo piatti translates to small plates.
"Firewood oven and brick oven adds that real, great authentic flavor to it while making it a different experience," LeVine told Patch. "You can get pizza anywhere. But you can’t get great, authentic individual pizzas like this. The quality that we’re going to focus on is freshness."
Ingredients both local and imported from Italy will be used.
The concept of Vico is one that Joe Fortuna, owner of 317 Main Street and The Nutty Irishman, has wanted to bring to Farmingdale for a long time. Fortuna visits his family in Vico Equense nearly every year.
"We feel that it’s something that’s missing on Main Street," Fortuna said. "You want to do something that’s going to be different. I’ve always wanted to do something like this. This is the perfect opportunity."
Perry Fortuna, owner of the upcoming Vico, is working on wine-based cocktails based on the Campania region.
For those who cannot stick around at the restaurant, takeout and delivery will be available. However, the sense of community will be an important focus of the restaurant.
"The whole idea is to bring people back to a table and create the experience of community," LeVine said. "That’s what we’re all about as a restaurant group."
Prices will be made affordable, as the group hopes patrons will consider dining at Vico multiple times a week.
LeVine, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, helped open 317 Main Street in 2019. The gastropub has routinely been one of the most packed eateries in the village on a nightly basis, as it serves a wide array of cuisines and types of meals. The chef is ready to embrace the traditional Italian cuisine from Vico Equense in the new restaurant.
"For me, it’s not a challenge," LeVine said. "For me, it’s actually a lot of fun. Because I get to experiment, and I get to look at things from a different palette. It’s just another extension of what I do. It’s food. I could do Asian cuisine, I can do Italian cuisine. I can do whatever the cuisine is. But I only do that by learning. Years ago, I had partners who were from India. I didn’t know anything about Indian cuisine. Now, I’m comfortable with that because I experimented, I tried, I created and I executed."
LeVine said that Fortuna will serve as his guide on the palette of the region. Fortuna's passion for his family's region and food shone through as he combed his phone searching for photos of pizza, vegetables and scenes of the Italian coastal town.
That passion will help inform LeVine as he thrives to bring as authentic an experience as possible to Farmingdale.
"If someone goes [to Vico Equense] and they come back, and they go, ‘Wow, check this out. They’re doing it just like home,’ that’s an important thing," LeVine said. "And for people to experiment and try different things. That’s always been one of the strengths that I’ve had. Experimenting and executing at that next level. I love the challenge of that. Also, as a cook, it’s fun. I get to do something else. We have a lot of challenges and creative stuff going on at 317. But to do this focus and be able to twist the focus and make it unique is going to be a lot of fun."
LeVine plans to get creative with the pizza toppings, and there will be options for vegans, too. The personal pizzas will be different from the pizzas-by-the-meter.
"We’re trying to make sure that it becomes an individual experience for that person so they can create their own, or have something that we created that they can call their own," he said. "‘This is my go-to pizza. I can come and have a glass of wine in the middle of the afternoon with this and not feel too full, but just comfortable enough that I can go back to work.'"
Drawing inspiration from the Italian region Fortuna has visited so many times will ensure the staff of Vico has a personal connection with the food, which is crucial, according to LeVine.
"You can’t be a great cook if you can’t connect to the pan to create food," LeVine said. "It’s one of those things, as owners, you want to be able to have that whole thing come together to create that connection and experience. That’s where that draws from. When Joe goes back to Italy during the summer, he brings that home with him when he comes here. It’s always an ‘Oh, I saw this,’ or Hey, we should try this,’ type of thing. Then we experiment and we play."
People will get to taste the fruits of LeVine and Fortuna's experiments in the first quarter of 2022 as currently planned.
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