Today we welcome a new small business to our neighborhoods — help us welcome the next. Tell us which new independent store in Greenwich Village, the East Village, or NoHo you’re excited about by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As advocates on behalf of small business, we find great satisfaction in hearing of new independent establishments opening in our neighborhoods. These arrivals give us hope that reports of the death of mom-and-pops have been greatly exaggerated. Whenever such occasions present themselves, we like to share our enthusiasm with the world in the hopes that others will join us in wishing our new neighbors a warm welcome or, in the present instance, un caldo benvenuto! Today, we celebrate the recent opening of Via della Scrofa at 60 East 4th Street, just east of the Bowery.
Via della Scrofa is a small market that takes its name from a Roman street of gastronomic renown, home to the restaurant Alfredo alla Scrofa, which allegedly invented the fettuccine dish that went on to conquer the world (albeit in a far creamier permutation). The store is the brainchild of Giovanni Bartocci and Marco Ventura, who have already brought a taste of Rome to the East Village with their restaurant Via della Pace on 7th Street. Until the fire that also gutted the adjacent Middle Collegiate Church on Second Avenue just south of 7th Street forced it to shut down last year, Via della Pace was an outstanding and affordable destination to sample three of the what Giovanni calls i quatro assi della cucina italiana (the four aces of Italian cooking): rigatoni alla carbonara, spaghetti all’amatriciana, and spaghetti alla gricia. Luckily for us, the partners plan to reopen the restaurant soon at a larger location (and even add the fourth and missing ace to its menu: cacio e pepe, a Roman institution). In the meantime, Giovanni and Marco decided to open Via della Scrofa just a few blocks from their old place as an old-fashioned Italian bottega, the sort of small neighborhood food market where you go to find everything (or, if you’re not in Italy, to find many of the Italian products that you’d otherwise struggle to find).
Inspired by the pandemic isolation of the past couple of years, this small charming store is, in part, the product of nostalgia. Giovanni explains, “We carry what we miss… especially during COVID… what reminds us of home, from when we were kids.” Theirs was, apparently, a gastronomically indulgent childhood. The store carries Mulino Bianco galletti, classic pecorino from Nepi, Italian Nutella (it’s not the same), guanciale, lupini beans, porchetta, the best chinotto (Chin8 Neri), Galatine — the delicious milk candy that Marco was handing out for free with every purchase when we visited the store — and much else.
In addition to packaged comestibles, Via della Scrofa offers an assortment of Italian sandwiches — panini, focacce, and pinse romane — many made with the delicious bread from another recent East Village addition, Le Fournil (more on them in the coming weeks). The small but mighty Via della Scrofa goes beyond food products in its noble efforts to bring Italy to our footsteps. Do you need to degrease something with Chanteclair all-purpose cleaner? Are you looking for a set of cards for playing scopa? Now you know where to go.
Asked to explain why he and Marco decided to open their store in the East Village, Giovanni explains:
It’s a village. And Italians like little villages. We like community. We like to know people. As a village, we know each other, and we try to work with the neighborhood.
He recalls staying open after Hurricane Sandy and giving away food after the 2015 gas explosion within a stone’s throw from Via della Pace. We, of course, applaud their commitment to the neighborhood. And, although their history as local restaurateurs makes Giovanni and Marco longstanding Villagers, we find in their most recent venture new cause for celebration. We encourage everyone to swing by and say ciao!