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Il Bambino 1 Brunch Sandwiches Greenwich Village

Owner Darren Lawless has described Il Bambino as a “sophisticated sandwich shop,” which is an adequate description when one considers that his signature panini and crostini include a much richer combination of flavors than one would normally expect in a panini. “We go outside the box,” Darren stated, pointing out how the Italian staple snack needs to be “elevated” in order to suit the particular New Yorker's taste. The way to do that, according to Darren, is to mix different varieties of the well-known Italian ingredients - prosciutto, salami, and cheese - creatively with home-made spreads like a special béarnaise and spicy mayo. The product has to be simple, but there also “has to be a wow factor” involved. Hence the crostini with goat cheese, apricot butter, and chorizo, or the truffle potato and string bean salads, which can be accompanied by a small selection of wine and beer.

Originally from Dublin, Darren came to New York City when he was in his early twenties and worked as a chef in numerous restaurants. In 2006, Darren decided to open the first Il Bambino in Astoria with the simple objective of serving delicious panini and great coffee. His business was so successful that in March of 2016, he inaugurated the second Il Bambino, but this time in the West Village. Now focused on building a brand, Darren is looking forward to opening other locations in the future and putting his creative sandwiches and small plates to the test. He made a point of emphasizing, though, that the quality of Il Bambino will not be sacrificed in the process, as it is essential to the goal of building a brand in the first place. “Once people know you’re synonymous with quality,” Darren said, “you can put your brand on everything.”

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Il Bambino 1 Brunch Sandwiches Greenwich Village
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Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

What a find... down a flight of stairs from street level on 8th Street, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor is the "antithesis of a sports bar. " Artisan and craft beer are brought together in a friendly environment that certainly had us feeling like we were right at home. The Parlor is also named for the Arts and Crafts movement, “a cultural revolt against the ideals of industrialization. ”When we visited, we spoke to Robert, one of the two owners, with whom we thoroughly enjoyed chatting. Robert is an internationally recognized speaker and writer on dining out and traveling with special diets (he co-authored the series Let’s Eat Out! ), and he also has a background in acting and producing on Broadway. He told us that the other owner, Don, has an impressive resume working with the FBI and counterterrorism efforts both in New York and around the world - which left us wondering what brought this dynamic duo together as friends and eventually co-owners. Robert informed us it was a love of American Craft Beer and the visual and performing arts... and that they actually met enjoying a pint of beer in Manhattan. Just as intriguing as its owners, the interior of Arts and Crafts is beautifully designed; the sophisticated wallpaper is custom made by Bradbury and Bradbury, and the soft green and beige pattern was Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite, supposedly. The constantly changing art is displayed along the wall opposite the bar, and an exposed brick wall and fireplace give the parlor a true “extension of your living room” feel. Described by Robert, as the “Bugatti of beer systems, ” the twenty plus beers the Parlor keeps on tap rotate monthly and are kept by this state of the art system at a refreshing 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Robert also astounded us with how small the carbon footprint of the Parlor is — he told us they are very conscious of keeping things compostable and earth-friendly. In addition to their rotating display of art from both established and up-and-coming artists, the Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor also hosts a monthly lecture series on the subjects of art as well as culinary topics. We could not get enough of how interesting this place is — both the concept of art and beer coming together and the two fascinating minds behind it.