Tom and Anthony Martignetti may call their company Broome Street Hospitality, because they began opening restaurants downtown, but these days the duo is focused on the Upper East Side.
Their first ventures were Southside in 2007 and Brinkley’s in 2008, both of which are still going strong. They began their trek north with The East Pole on East 65th Street, which they unveiled at the end of 2013 along with Fat Radish partners Ben Towill and Phil Winser. The concept emphasized fresh, locally-sourced ingredients prepared in a healthy way and served with the backdrop of a vibrant scene. It quickly became one of the area’s most popular spots. Two years later, the brothers premiered the more casual Pizza Beach, both on the Lower East Side and on upper Third Avenue, and unlike many of the carb-heavy places of that ilk, it offered some lighter dishes like a kale salad, fire-grilled prawns, and pizza with roasted pears.
Next up was Eastfields on York Avenue, The East Pole’s smaller more relaxed little sister, and most recently Café Americano, which arrived this fall. Located on Lexington Avenue and East 70th Street, it stays open until 2 a.m. and has a menu that runs the gamut from grass fed double cheeseburger with crispy shallots and onion jam to a macro bowl filled with grains and veggies.
Eater recently caught up with Tom and Anthony to chat about building their empire:
Why did you pick a block for Café Americano that already has two mega popular restaurants – Bella Blu and Sette Mezzo?
Tom: When I first met my wife, she lived on this block and we consider it to be one of the best blocks on the Upper East Side. We wanted to do a menu of our greatest hits and that fits with this space. Sette Mezzo is awesome but we don’t have Milanese or parmesan anything and we know where every bit of our produce comes from. Sette Mezzo has chairs up on the tables by 10:30 p.m. and we like to create a scene. Café Americano is also a cocktail bar.
It’s a small space, but you’ve made it feel very contemporary and comfortable. Do you stick with the same designers?
Anthony: I was a furniture maker, so I design the restaurants myself. Americano is a mix between something I saw on a boat and lawn furniture of my mother’s.
Why York Avenue for Eastfields?
Anthony: We look where opportunities are — great spaces and real estate deals. Yorkville seemed like a natural progression and it’s one of New York’s last real neighborhoods. Another is Harlem. I just moved to 123rd Street and Lenox, and I’m entranced.
Did downtown rents influence your decision to open more uptown spots?
Tom: Rents downtown are crazy now and people are saying that is killing the restaurant business, but it can never be dead in New York. People will always need a place to eat and prices will just go up.
Tom, do you and your wife still live uptown?
Tom: We keep an apartment in the Flatiron, but I’m looking to move to the Upper East Side to be closer to the new restaurants. I also bought Graydon Carter’s old house in Washington, Connecticut.
How did you become interested in healthier locally sourced food?
Anthony: The more we learned about bars, the more we learned about food, and we started serving grass fed burgers along with New York state beer.
What attracted you to bars and restaurants to begin with?
Anthony: We like hospitality and having people over — we winged it from day one and we still do — even with seven spots and two hundred employees.
Where is the next place you plan to wing it?
Anthony: We will expand Pizza Beach: We are looking at Miami and DC. As a dynamic company we can move quickly. We’ll see what shakes out over the winter.