Roscioli has put down roots outside of Rome. The beloved Italian restaurant group found a kindred spirit in New York restauranteur Ariel Arce, and teamed up to open Roscioli NYC, its first location outside of Italy.
“The Roscioli family is pretty institutional in Rome,” says Arce, whose other projects include Air’s Champagne Parlor and Tokyo Record Bar. The Roscioli portfolio includes Salumeria Roscioli, a delicatessen turned restaurant, as well as the original bakery, café and wine bar.
The Roscioli NYC space was previously home to Niche Niche, Arce’s dinner party concept that was helmed by a rotating cast of beverage professionals and chefs. In 2021, the Salumeria Roscioli team was invited for a weeklong residency, which kicked off a bigger conversation around working together to bring Roscioli Stateside. Several months after that initial pop-up, Arce traveled to Italy and reconnected with the team, discovering that they were running similar culinary concepts in different cities.
“We’re just planting seeds in a soil that was already fertile, because Niche Niche was already that thing,” says Rimessa Roscioli partner Alessandro Pepe, who moved to New York earlier this spring along with chef Tommaso Fratini for the project’s opening.
“This place is absolutely an homage to what exists in Rome, but we’re not unrealistic about the reality that we can’t replicate what they’re doing — nor are we trying to,” says Arce. “But we are trying to make them very proud.”
The bi-level space includes two separate concepts. The downstairs dining room, now open, is serving a tasting menu in a cozy dinner-party atmosphere similar to Niche Niche, while the upstairs Salumeria, opening later this summer, will house a delicatessen and more casual wine bar. Roscioli branded products and sourced wines will be for sale alongside a selection of cheeses, meats and prepared items; the wine bar will serve pasta, burrata and other Roman dishes.
While some ingredients and items for sale will be sustainably imported from Italy, the team is mirroring the quality-first focus of the original restaurant in Rome by working with an upstate New York farm collective to source local milk and other produce.
“We’re using the mentality of what the Romans would be doing by sourcing from Puglia, by us sourcing from upstate New York,” Arce says. “And then we get to pair that with all of these amazing preserved tomatoes and burratas and hams and canned products that we have. So it’s a nice balance to use that North Star to be able to develop the menu.”
Rather than replicating what exists in Rome, Roscioli NYC is more focused on mirroring a similar ethos: cultivating connections, whether that’s through connection to an ingredient, person or place. The Alimentari is already leaning into the experiential; shortly before their official opening, the downstairs dining room hosted a discussion with several authors. The restaurant will also plans to host food artisans and producers.
Pepe notes that the hope with the downstairs salon-style concept is to move away from the performative quality of dining, and create a space that transcends the culinary experience and dining trends.
“This place gains value if it is connected with Rome, if it is connected with winemakers and vineyards,” Pepe says. “We always risk that people will get tired of a place,” he adds. “When you give people something else, you create an attachment to a place that is more significant. Because it’s not just about the object, it’s about the relationship and the event.”
“Our dogma is to not be dogmatic,” Arce adds. “Our goal is to make it very personable, very fun and not make it very precious. [Roscioli] has a tagline that is, ‘at the end of the day, it’s just bread and salami.’ And that’s very much the philosophy that we would like to talk about.”
At the end of the day, maybe that’s all you need.