May 19, 2022


Free For All Food

Lucio’s Italian Cafe in Sydney is closing following 38 a long time serving Australia’s great artists

Soon after 38 years of services, there are just some things restaurateur Lucio Galletto can not let go.

He is retaining only a several artworks from among the his eminent collection, which will be auctioned in March.

But there are also the rituals dating again to his childhood.

Prior to the restaurant opens, he walks via his Paddington establishment with a incredibly hot pan wafting the scent of burnt garlic infused with oil.

“To maintain evil spirits out of the restaurant,” Lucio defined.

“It can be really particular.

“Also the aroma of the garlic, by the time people come in, it is extremely inviting.”

A provide-out last night

Lucio’s Italian Restaurant will welcome its previous shoppers on Saturday.

When the organization introduced the closing day in Oct, it was booked out in just 4 hours.

The cafe was established in Balmain in 1981 right before relocating to Paddington two yrs later on.

Since then, the household-run company has hosted patrons from across the art globe — John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Elisabeth Cummings, Michael Johnson, Salvatore Zofrea, Euan Macleod, Sidney Nolan and numerous far more.

There have also been celebrities — Al Pacino, Italian singer Zucchero Fornaciari and the late George Harrison, with Lucio remembering offending his “hero” when he questioned the Beatles star for an autograph.

It was Nolan’s sketch of Ned Kelly on the back again of a docket that kick-commenced Lucio’s well-known gallery of operates that adorn the walls inside of the restaurant, and the pavement and tree outside.

“He expended a fortune framing it in gold leaf, which I was furious about and I even now am,” his wife, Sally Galleto, explained.

To Lucio, the artists are “la famiglia” — loved ones.

“I believe they saw how I took treatment of [the Nolan sketch]. Soon after that they came in and questioned ‘can I hold my art on your wall?’

“And they say to me, ‘Artists may not like just about every other but they all like Lucio’s.'”

Lucio’s food stuff, artwork and friendship auction

A full of 200 of Lucio’s artworks will be auctioned by Bonhams Australia on March 21 including paintings, sculptures and sketches some of which were being drawn on menus and on the napery.

A blessed buyer could also choose dwelling ‘The Sacred Fish’ by Imants Tillers, which comes with tiny flecks of tomato sauce, courtesy of the patrons who have sat at the desk down below the function given that 2016.

Lucio assures us that the sauce can be wiped off the paint oils, normally, he joked, the purchaser “can get an additional 10 for every cent off!”.

Bonhams director Merryn Schriever explained the assortment was a snapshot of the Australian art world from the 1980s.

“The selection of is effective is amazing,” Ms Schriever claimed.

“A lot of of the works are about unique activities and specific functions these as the Garry Shead is effective that are all about banquets and feasts and feature both equally Garry and Lucio.”

It is predicted the selection will overall someplace amongst $700,000 and $1,000,000, she said.

Of all artworks hanging around the walls, there are only a couple of Lucio is keeping for himself.

Colin Lanceley’s Blue Swimmer Crab — a mixed media work that paid out homage to the restaurant’s pasta dish, tagliolini alla granseola, is one of Lucio’s favourites.

“I couldn’t promote it, it is far too specific for me, so I’m going to continue to keep it in my residence when we shut,” Lucio reported.

“Simply because he did it for me, to rejoice one thing I have been doing for yrs. That’s the particular detail.”

He would also appreciate to retain Fred Cress’ painting, titled Lucio’s Food, featuring the hands of artists sharing a feast, but he thinks it could possibly “be too major” for the condominium he life in.

‘He enjoys the people’

Lucio was raised in the planet of restaurants and art.

His loved ones owned a cafe in the small Italian seaside town in the province of Liguria and his cousin also runs a restaurant and an artwork gallery.

“It was like I was born in a restaurant,” Lucio said.

“We expended extra time getting in the restaurant than at dwelling.

“We had our small corner in the restaurant the place we did our homework, viewed tv.”

It was there he achieved his wife Sally, who was visiting her sister, who is married to Lucio’s cousin.

“We went to Paris to see if we were compatible to get married,” Lucio reported with a giggle.

“We were fighting every day so we mentioned ‘yes, we are ready to get married!'”

Lucio’s first career in Sydney in 1977 was at Natalino’s Restaurant in Kings Cross.

When he loves foodstuff and enjoys to cook dinner (even though “he will make a mess” according to Sally), it was the entrance-of-house responsibilities that kept Lucio in the small business.

“His forte is with the folks,” Sally stated.

“He enjoys chatting to people, earning folks pleased.”

Sally joined the small business in 1997 soon after a occupation in marketing, whilst their two youngsters Matteo and Michela skilled in hospitality and now also work for the cafe.

‘We follow the season’

Lucio’s has only had five head chefs in its life span, and most skilled the apprentices that then took about the part.

George Kohler has been the restaurant’s head chef for the earlier 3 several years, and was qualified by his predecessor Logan Campbell, who was in Lucio’s kitchen area for 12 many years.

The slow turnover of employees intended the style of the food stuff barely improved and mirrored Lucio’s motto: “We observe the period, not the trend”.

“There’s a dish at the moment on the menu — burrata with tomato,” Mr Kohler instructed ABC Sydney.

“We use basil and I’ve built that into a gel and we inject that into the burrata to create a wow factor.

“[The kitchen] It is really like a shoebox.

“But for a two-hatted establishment … it can be amazing the foodstuff we can develop and get out to the clients at these kinds of a large standard.”

Until the future enterprise

Lucio’s may perhaps be closing but it is in no way a mark of retirement for the Galletto family members.

Their future enterprise, whilst not but verified, will be spearheaded by Matteo and Michela.

“With any luck , we are going to do some thing else with our little ones but it will be a thing they really feel about it, result in [Lucio’s] was Sally and I,” Lucio claimed.

“What I will miss out on, and I hope not for extensive mainly because I hope to do anything else, is that I will overlook folks.

“I will miss my staff, miss watching the foods remaining well prepared, the organisation of the kitchen area, the group in the kitchen functioning so perfectly collectively, but unquestionably the dining area.

“The eating area is where I come to feel at home — making confident that people today are getting a great time.

“I will skip not getting section of their conviviality anymore.”