Something Unusual at Osteria 57 Restaurant
By Brian J Pape and Joy Pape
At a dinner in June, we enjoyed a delicious meal with several friends at Osteria 57 at 57 West 10th Street. Don’t let the shroud of scaffolding put you off—it’s worth the trip. The food and drinks were delicious and we highly recommend it to anyone who loves fine dining and Italian hospitality.
This is not meant to be a food review. Although the food was superb, and even passed Joy’s (AKA The Healthy Critic) appreciation of being healthy and nutritious, what we learned while dining was something more fascinating.
Proprietor Emanuele Nigro and chef Riccardo Orfino have set out to provide a unique experience in dining at Osteria 57. Chef Orfino was mentored by the famous chef Aimo Moroni of Milan, Italy. Osteria 57 has been ranked worldwide as one of the 27 “Best Italian Restaurants Outside of Italy,” even though Osteria 57 doesn’t serve meat dishes. Emanuele is funneling his energy to three locations now: Osteria 57, Alice Restaurant nearby on 13th Street and the new Pamina Gelateria & Bakery, also nearby on 6th Avenue.
Emanuale has come up with a truly unusual promotion for his restaurants, that he calls “community dinners.” It is an initiative of “one more”—more hospitality, more contributing to positive gestures such as recycling, sustainability, environmental responsibility, organic sources and avoiding contributing to big agri-industry. Keep the money local. Pay more to keep harmony, even if paychecks are the same as some other restaurants.
Emanuale explained it this way, “I do things my own way. I believe in value. I grew up in an Italian family with guests at the dinner table. I set out in business to be true to myself, to make the best use of resources for best outcomes for my guests.”
Emanuale came up with the idea of “community dinners” as part of the restaurant’s promotion budget. By reaching out to one of his patrons in the community, he asks if they would like to invite 10 of that patron’s friends to a complimentary dinner at a certain time. If the patron agrees, and they are able to reserve a time for their 10 guests, then it is set. It may be guests who have dined there before or not.Those guests are really in for a marvelous treat, so unexpected, so gracious. You can’t buy your way into one of these “community dinners” as it is by your friend’s invitation only.
He plans to have “community dinners” every six weeks or so. Emanuale also has set up a membership fund where patrons can prepay for dining at a discount. Website: osteria57.com