Industry Insiders: Giuseppe Tuosto and Barry Mullineaux, Boys Who Brunch

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

Industry Insiders: Joao Daniel, Brazilian Export

UPDATE: Joao has actually moved on from Le Royale — see here for details on his new gig.

Upon his arrival in New York, Joao Daniel started working in restaurant kitchens hoping to become fluent in English, but he ended up picking up more Spanish than he anticipated. Like most newcomers, he eventually started hitting the club scene, and surprisingly, this was where he honed his language skills. His nightly activities quickly snowballed into a profession. Now the charming Brazilian has his weekly schedule consistently booked with hosting gigs on Monday nights at Le Royale,Wednesdays at 60 Thompson, Thursday through Saturday at Pink Elephant, and Sunday nights at The Eldridge. He’s also in on the Saturday and Sunday pool parties at Hotel Gansevoort. Joao gives us the scoop on where we should be going out.

How’d you end up in the big city? I’m Brazilian; I came here three and a half years ago and started working at Pink Elephant as a busboy. I didn’t speak English at all, and I had to work my way up.

And that led to … I did the door at The Box for awhile. I hosted at Mansion. I hosted at Cain. I host Pink Elephant at the moment, and I work there three nights a week. I’m really good at organizing these parties. I also used to do Monday nights at Stanton Social. I moved to Vegas and passed off the Monday night gig. When I came back, I wasn’t interested in getting involved with that again because it was a very different crowd. A mutual friend of mine and Terry’s told me about the Monday night at Le Royale. Not too many people in the city knew about the party, like they do now. I know a lot of people in the industry so, it’s really become well-known. I left Le Royale recently, and now my focus is the weekend pool party at The Gansevoort.

Why’d you move to Vegas? I went out there to work, but ended up back at Pink Elephant in the summer of last year. I worked at Tao in Vegas, because Rich Wolfe of Stanton Social is also an owner there. I got offered a job to work at Tryst at the Wynn, and Rich said, “No, you have to work for us.” But I finally got the offer to work as a host for Pink Elephant, and because I started there as a busboy, it was important to me to work as a host there. I especially missed New York.

What did you miss about New York specifically? New Yorkers don’t say things that they don’t mean. If they say that they like you, it’s because they like you. If they don’t like you, then they’ll show that they don’t like you. It’s very black and white, and I love the style. People like to dress up, and people like to be in fashion. It makes the city more alive.

Best thing about Le Royale? The place is completely music driven, and that’s why I love it so much. The music at Le Royale on Monday is a little of everything, but not the cheesy stuff we hear at other places in New York right now. Stuff you’ll hear at other clubs, you’ll hear at Le Royale six months before. They have the real hipsters there. I try to avoid promoting too much, because it’s industry night. We end up having promoters from other places that just come because they like the party.

Is there live music? Terry is so well connected with the music industry, so some Monday nights we have special events. We had Shiny Toy Guns play, and usually, when they play in New York, they play for 300,000 people. There is a cover, so we can have bands to open the night. We can have big DJ’s, and I think we’re one step ahead of every place in New York City in terms of music and a good crowd. Now, bottle service is in a big crisis because of the economy, and Le Royale wont die because it doesn’t depend on that. It depends on the music and people go because the music is amazing.

What’s the best night, for parties/nightlife in New York, in your opinion? I work on the weekends, and I’m having a lot of fun at Pink Elephant because I really love house music. My favorites are definitely Sundays and Mondays. On Sundays, I never miss going to brunch. Brunch parties are taking over the city. Via dei Mille and Sol are the best. People get drunk and dance their asses off until 9 o’clock at night. After brunch, I go to Felix, and then I hit up GoldBar.

What are your spots in the city? I love going places with amazing cocktails. I like the bar at 60 Thompson. It’s out of control. I like Employees Only. For restaurants, I go to Jewel Bako sushi in the East Village. I love Stanton Social, which is great if you have a big group and want to share food.

What are you doing tonight? Getting ready to go to Le Royale.

New York: Top 10 Cold-Weather Cocktails

imageForget spiked egg nog, pumpkin-based drinks, and all those other seasonal libations. Don’t even think about a chilled beer or frozen concoction unless you plan on spending the night perched over your heater. Instead, head to one of the spots below where the mixologists are whipping up specialty cocktails for sun-deprived-drinkers.

10. Thai chili hot chocolate @ Thom Bar (Soho) – Made with Thailand’s national spirit — Mekhong, which is sort of like a pisco — there’s no hotter way to beat your chills. 9. Wake-Up Call @ Brandy Library (Tribeca) – You could spend all night sifting through the never-ending list of options, but make it easy for yourself and go straight for this warm, aptly named mix of espresso, vanilla vodka, and homemade chocolate and coffee liqueurs. 8. Gingerbread cocktail at Empire Hotel Rooftop (Upper West Side) – The sunny skies may be gone, but the rooftop continues to attract with sweeping views, dim lighting, and a crackling fireplace — all of which are best enjoyed while sipping on their creation made with gingerbread syrup, Ten Cane Rum, apple juice, and lemon.

7. Black currant sake martini at Bond St. (Greenwich Village) – Get your blood pumping with this mix of gin, acai berry liquor, sake, triple sec, and black currant puree. 6. Hot chocolate martini at Gramercy Tavern (Union Square) – The winter equivalent to a summer burger at Shack Shack, Gramercy Tavern’s hot chocolate comes spiked with Stoli Vanilla and amaretto. 5. Woodcock Reserve hot spiced cider at Via dei Mille (Soho) – Forget about any brewing winter storm with this homemade classic. 4. Madame’s preserves and jams at Madame Geneva (Soho) – Skip dessert and indulge in a spoonful of house-made preserves served over Beefeater Gin or 42 Below Vodka — the 18th-century-inspired concoction comes in three varieties: mixed berry & vanilla, orange & green cardamom, and fig & ginger. 3. Whiskey-based hot toddy at Aspen Social (Midtown West) – Only in NYC could you find an Aspen-inspired cabin with this much glitz. 2. Hot buttered rum at Freemans (Lower East Side) – Nothing like warm rum and taxidermy to take away the winter chill. 1. The Randy Toddy at The Randolph (Nolita) – Conjured-up with Sasha Petraske-precision by a decidedly attractive and friendly staff, this enticing libation is made with honey, lemon, Applejack, hot water, nutmeg, and cinnamon.

New York: Top 10 Thanksgiving-Friendly Restaurants

imageBecause we don’t like cooking, our kitchen is the size of a closet, and the thought of leaving the city and risking missing the early-morning sale at Saks is too scary to bear (as are some of our relatives), here’s a list of our picks for the most Thanksgiving-friendly restaurants in New York City (and the specials they’re running for Turkey Day).

10. Freemans, three courses, $75. Number 10 on our list because only half of us find irony in surrounding yourself with taxidermy on Thanksgiving. 9. Ben & Jack’s, three courses, $65. The main course, traditional roast turkey, comes with turkey stuffing, caramelized mashed sweet potatoes, classic mashed potatoes, sautéed string beans, cranberry sauce, and turkey gravy — enough said. 8. Mesa Grill, three courses, $70. With dishes like fresh sage and orange butter turkey and pumpkin flan made with gingersnap wafers, Bobby Flay’s longstanding Southwestern joint would surely prove to be a Smackdown winner. 7. BLT Market, three courses, $95. Because where else could you get a sage-foie gras crouton?

6. Benjamin Steakhouse, three courses, $65. A sure bet with its ten-foot working fireplace, oak wood paneling, oversized mirrors, leather chairs, and traditional eats courtesy of Peter Luger alum Benjamin Prelvukaj. 5. Kittichai, five courses for $55 or four for $45. Infusing dashes of Asian flare into traditional dishes — turkey osso buco braised in massaman curry with Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and traditional trimmings — makes the sleek eatery an innovative delight. 4. Gilt, four courses, $110. Who knows, you might run into Blair Waldorf. 3. Via Dei Mille, five courses, $59. Like Cipriani only newer, cheaper — better. 2. Alloro, four courses, $40. Excellent value from local Italian dynasty Gina and Salvatore Corea; includes turkey meatballs, pumpkim raviolo, prune-stuffed turkey, and pumpkin tiramisu. 1. Cookshop, two courses, $60. Proudly displaying a chalkboard listing not the daily specials, but rather the joint’s “favorite farmers,” was the touch that made this modern cozy spot, with its food that’s fresh-as-can-be, come-out on top.