Long before his trendy restaurants opened or he started appearing regularly on television, John DeLucie found himself living in the West Village as a student at NYU in the 80's. Since then he's lived and worked abroad in kitchens across Europe, but today he still calls the Village his home.
"I like knowing the guy who does my dry cleaning, and the guy who makes my espresso," says DeLucie, who's also a native New Yorker.
The Village is also where he made a splash in the New York restaurant scene when he was founding chef and partner at The Waverly Inn. These days, he's overlooking the kitchen at the Lion (located the Village) and his other restaurants under the Crown Group Hospitality umbrella (Crown and Bill's Food & Drink). In many ways, the Village is reflection of his restaurants: the neighborhood is an intersection of food, fashion, media and music. DeLucie took some time to talk with Serious Eats about his favorite spots in the West Village.
Pizza, slice: I always go to Joe's for the fresh mozzarella. I'm often eating Joe's Pizza late at night and it seems to taste better.
Pizza pie: If I really want to savor my pizza, I go to Keste.
Burger, cheap: I guess I would default to Corner Bistro. It's right in the neighborhood and is easy and good. I dig the paper plates.
Burger, fancy: I probably would go to the Lion. Or I would go to Minetta Tavern. I like their plain one.
Sandwich: I would go to Sant Ambroeus. I like the tiny panini because I don't like something so huge. And with one ingredient. I don't want to feel like I ate too much.
Falafel: Taim. Love it.
Coffee: O Café on 12th Street and Sixth Avenue. I have a double espresso with a side of hot water, and I sort of create my own mini Americano. I'm a pain in the neck about it, I'm sure. I also like the Italian coffee at Sant Ambreous.
Bagels: I don't eat a whole lot of bagels anymore. Every now and then I like an everything bagel on 12th Street and Sixth Avenue. I think that's Murray's. A big gnarly everything bagel.
Dive Bar: I'm not really a dive bar kind of a guy. For a drink, I would go to the Lion. I have to say they make a fantastic drink. Maybe Minetta.
Date night: Perla is really cute on Minetta Lane. I love that place. It used to La Boheme. It's old, but they've been very true with the renovation and I love that about it. It's small and has good lighting.
Ice cream/gelato: L'Arte del Gelato on Seventh Avenue.
Can't-miss neighborhood spot: It'd be toss up between the margherita pizza at Keste and the croissant at Tartine. The pizza at Keste is super traditional and has a wood oven flavor. The croissant is crunchy, fresh and buttery.