On March 27th, Osteria La Buca will close -- but only for nine days as the Italian eatery, "a bastion of new-generation Italian comfort food" with a secretly great lunchtime burger expands into a vacated space that adjoins the its eastern wall.
Designd by Brendan Ravenhill, guests will be greeted at the new entrance by a large, open area dedicated to wine and charcuterie. (Ravenhill is known for a wooden bottle opener he invented.) This is the second major expansion for owner Graham Snyder, who originally opened La Buca in 2004 as a tiny, 20-seat eatery.
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A few years ago, Snyder quadrupled the size of the restaurant by expanding into a former quinceanera dress shop that was next door. He added a full bar, an upper level with an open fire, chandeliers made from reclaimed wine bottles, bright red neon signage and floor-to-ceiling glass walls fronting Melrose Avenue.
Even after chef Filippo Corvino and his mother, Loredanna, departed (reportedly quite acrimoniously) in 2009 and started their own Italian restaurant, Osteria Momma, just a couple miles west, Osteria La Buca has kept drawing the crowds.
La Buca 3.0 will feature new tabletops, chairs, lighting fixtures and accessories designed by Ravenhill, including merchandise-laden shelves lining the walls and an elongated table spanning the circumference of the room. Outside, the red neon sign has already been replaced by hand-stenciled signage. Inside, the bar, the bar stools and the enomatic wine dispenser will disappear. Instead, look for boutique spirits and more tap beers. The wall with the oversized Fellini portrait will vanish, along with the portrait. The other walls will be upholstered with distressed, reclaimed barn wood. In the rear, a glass-paned pasta room, which churns out fresh pasta during the day and becomes a private dining space in the evening, sits above a temperature-controlled wine vault.
Osteria La Buca will reopen to the public on Wednesday, April 6th.