Photos by Kate and Michael Auda
Like some siblings do, a brainchild can come as a complete surprise.
Such was the case with Salvucci’s, the new Italian sister to RMD Group’s growing roster of venerable venues.
“We weren’t ready to do another restaurant, but when this location [formerly Común] came along, we couldn’t pass it up,” says Mike Georgopoulos, the “M” in RMD Group, which also owns and operates FLUXX, Side Bar, Ciro’s Pizzeria, Don Chido, Rustic Root and Pop’s Liquor Cabinet. “And I’ve been dying to do Italian.”
Georgopoulos’ “dying” to do Italian stems from his having grown up in an Italian family in Watertown, Mass., a Boston suburb, where meals at Grandmother Carmella Salvucci Renzella’s house were daily delights.
At Salvucci’s, located by Petco Park at Ninth Avenue and J Street in East Village, the menu exudes rich flavors and rich family history. It’s where recipes from generations of the clan (which first laid domestic roots when Loreto and Pasqua Salvucci emigrated to the U.S. from San Donato, Italy, in the 1930s) live on. And there’s an on-site matriarch to make sure they do so.
To maintain his grandmother’s culinary standards, Georgopoulos recruited the next logical choice: his mother, Darlene Renzella, who has joined the team as host, ensuring patrons receive a warm welcome from a loving Italian mother.
“Mom also makes sure the sauce is right,” says Georgopoulos. “And the meatballs.”