We have a bit of a restaurateur-crush this week; what other kind exists in the food world? His name is Joe Campanale and he happens to own a few of our favorite spots – L’artusi, Dell’Anima, L’Apicio and Anfora – need we say more? With a passion for great wines, Campanale heads the beverage side of his restaurants. It’s hard not to be tempted to have him pour you a glass (even if it happens to be 11:30 AM on a Tuesday or Wednesday) once he goes on about the wine list at any of his spots. I believe Kathie Lee and Hoda call it Wines-Day Wednesday on The Today Show right? We’re joining in and giving you the go ahead to wine it up today (no matter what time); consider it a Campanale celebration. Oh yes, and read the interview too!
What would be your ideal food day, from start to finish?
I know where breakfast is…Breakfast is at Tartine Bakery in San Francisco. I am just going to have a little quiche and almond croissant situation. That’s my breakfast.
I spent a month in London and just went back for ten days. I just remember walking around Borough Market. I’d have a snack there in between breakfast and lunch. I’d just walk around Borough Market, maybe stop into Neal’s Yard Dairy and get some cheese and then fly straight to Tuscany for lunch.
For lunch, my favorite thing is to go to a winery. One of my favorite lunches was at a winery in Tuscany called Canalicchio di Sopra. We flew in from Rome and we got there and Francesco (the owner) and his sister were making this Tuscan soup stew, with sliced meats and cheeses, and we just sat and drank his Brunello and looked at the vineyards. To me, that was greatest. I cannot imagine a better lunch than that. It wasn’t fancy, but it was with friends and incredible scenery.
I would go to Neta for dinner. I live a few blocks away. I go there all the time. I like sushi, especially if I have had a big lunch and a big day of eating. I would go to Neta and sit the bar and do the Omakase. I’d drink a lot of cocktails and sake.
I just went to Little Serow in Washington D.C. That place was amazing. Maybe I will go back there for second dinner. Second dinner at Little Serow. We need to find place for dessert…
TNP: Most of your restaurants are concentrated in the West Village area. Is that on purpose? Do you think that’s a good strategy restaurant-wise?
Well, I know this area really well. I went to NYU and I’ve lived down here since 2002. So it’s an area that I’m really comfortable with. Also, my business partner August [Cardona] lives here. Katherine and Gabe [Thompson] – the chef and pastry chef – live in Chelsea, so we feel like we are part of this community and part of this neighborhood. We all live here. Like with Anfora, we found out the space was open, and we opened here. We weren’t actively looking for a wine bar at the time. The same kind of thing happened with L’Artusi. We were realized at Dell’Anima that we were really busy. We were turning people away every night, and we just needed a few more seats. It [L’Artusi] was the first space we looked at, so it ended up working really well. I think that in the future we are going to be expanding to other neighborhoods. But the West Village is such a great neighborhood; it really has a neighborhood feel. You walk down the street and see the same people. I am glad we did, but I think that the West Village doesn’t need another Italian restaurant from us.
What’s your role exactly? How would you say the division is among you and your partners?
In terms of the food, when we are first coming up with the concept, Gabe and I will discuss the food. We’ll talk about what we are going to do, but Gabe is such a talented chef that he pretty much does his thing. He will ask for feedback when testing out dishes, which is really really fun, but really they are Gabe’s recipes and dishes.