Image Credit: Daniel Krieger

DISHING WITH Donna Leonard of Il Buco

Il Buco and Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria are two of our favorite places to indulge. We love the vibe, the food, the decor, and how when you’re there, it feels like you’re dining in the room of a fabulous friend. We wondered: How could we take some of that Il Buco vibe home? Besides shopping at Il Buco Vita, which we highly recommend, we thought picking the brain of Donna Lennard, Il Buco’s owner, might give us a good start.

Il Buco is such a warm and welcoming place. We imagine that you entertain friends and family there often. But when you have people to your home, what’s different?

I love to entertain on an off day, mostly at my house in Sag Harbor where I’m removed completely from the work environment. I can take the time to shop the farm stands and fish markets for local fare or I load the car with my favorite delicacies from the Alimentari – bread, cheese, anchovies, colatura, bottarga.

How would you describe your entertaining style?

Casual and carefree! When time allows, I love to create an environment through the little details that make guests feel relaxed and happy, and makes them indulge just a little bit too much!

Il Buco Vita sells gorgeous, earthy, Italian serveware. Is this your style at home? What does your dinner table look like?

I’m always looking for a way to make the table warmer, more inviting, give that extra detail. A particular antique bowl or piece of pottery, or just the right glassware or linen napkin makes a huge difference to me.

Do you cook? What do you like to serve?

I love to cook, though I’m not a trained chef. I feel I have a good palate; I use that to lead me. My simplest most favorite beginning of a meal would be a slice of my baker’s, Kamel Saci, buckwheat bread, spread with sweet butter and our Scalia anchovies under olive oil with some sliced radish on top, with a glass of Franciacorta! Or a fresh ceviche of Peconic Bay scallops with diced avocado and summer cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, lemon, lime, cilantro and extra virgin olive oil. Or fresh grilled calamari or head on shrimp with salsa verde.

5 essentials to entertaining at home?

Great ingredients, great friends, beautiful dishware, a fire in the hearth, a great bottle (or several) of wine, some nice music

If you could party with one person – living or dead – who would it be?

Annie Liebowitz, Pedro Almodovar

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