Giuseppe Tuosto (from Napoli) and partner Marcello Villani (a Capri native) have brought their Italian upbringing to their New York restaurant/lounge Via dei Mille. Alongside the Philly-raised but New York-braised Barry Mullineaux, the three have been sharing a loud and lively weekend brunch extraordinaire with SoHo for exactly one year now. On the eve of their anniversary, as the models and socialites of NYC prepare to gather at Via for fine Italian fare set to the backdrop of rowdy DJ beats and table dancing, the boys stop to reflect on their triumphant first year.
Do you only work together at Via dei Mille? Giuseppe Tuosto: We work together mostly at Via, but Barry and I have been working together since 2002. We had Rocco’s in the Hamptons and 21 Water. Barry Mullineaux: We have a couple of other things we are working on now, but nothing we can talk about for a couple of months.
What is the secret to Via’s success? GT: We went back to where we come from and what we’re known for, and that is a home-cooked meal. We use original recipes and nothing too fancy. Everybody’s making fusion and all these different cooking styles. We serve a good meal, which is really simple. BM: In addition to the food, we definitely keep the place interesting. We have live bands, such as the Gypsy Kings. We have afternoon brunch parties every weekend with DJs, so we are always doing something entertaining. GT: Every Tuesday we have light jazz bands play too.
How much do your Napoli roots influence the food? GT: It’s all Southern-inspired food with just a touch of Northern. Marcello is from Capri. We all love the food from our regions.
What is you clientele like at Via? BM: It’s a mix. We do model dinners so there is a beautiful crowd. We get a ton of European clientele and out-of-towners. GT: People from the fashion world, the financial word. We get people of all ages, from the young 20s to 50s and 60s. People want a great place at any age. The place makes everyone feel at home.
What are your goals for the future? GT: We’re in the process of opening up a new place. BM: We’re also in the process of opening a private dining room upstairs come springtime. There will be a dining room and an outdoor patio.
How does owning a hot SoHo spot influence the ladies? GT: There’s never a shortage. BM: I have to agree, there’s never a shortage. GT: It depends how long you want the relationship to last.
What’s your dream project? GT: We’re working on something very unique. Hopefully we’ll be able to see our vision become a reality very soon.
What do you look for in a good restaurant/lounge? GT: This is New York City, so you can go anywhere. All you have to do is pick up a phone and you can find a great meal. People want atmosphere, they want beautiful people and good food. Even if you have all that it doesn’t make you busy every day. BM: It’s not just the atmosphere and the food but what keeps people coming back is to always have something entertaining that not everyone else offers.
Go-to places in NYC? GT: I’m really biased. I don’t go to too many places besides my own. If I’m craving Japanese, that’s really the only other time I get to go elsewhere. I spend most of my time here at Via. Sometimes we go to someone’s apartment or Barry is also a partner at Greenhouse, so we go there. In the summer, we spend a lot of time out East in the Hamptons. We do private events out there. We enjoy working and having fun at the same time, whether we’re hosting an event or at a Film Festival or the Kentucky Derby. BM: I’m here every day. Of course I go out to eat, but it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite.
In photo, left to right: Marcello Villani, Barry Mullineaux and Giuseppe Tuosto