May 19, 2022


Free For All Food

Lucio’s Italian Cafe in Sydney is closing immediately after 38 a long time serving Australia’s fantastic artists

After 38 a long time of support, there are just some issues restaurateur Lucio Galletto simply cannot enable go.

He is trying to keep only a couple of artworks from among his eminent collection, which will be auctioned in March.

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

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

“To preserve evil spirits out of the cafe,” Lucio defined.

“It is incredibly particular.

“Also the aroma of the garlic, by the time folks arrive in, it’s quite inviting.”

Two hundred of Lucio’s artworks will go to auction on March 21.(Provided: Lucio’s)

A market-out ultimate evening

Lucio’s Italian Cafe will welcome its final buyers on Saturday.

When the business enterprise introduced the closing day in Oct, it was booked out inside 4 several hours.

The cafe was proven in Balmain in 1981 just before moving to Paddington two a long time afterwards.

Because then, the loved ones-operate organization has hosted patrons from throughout the artwork environment — John Olsen, Tim Storrier, Elisabeth Cummings, Michael Johnson, Salvatore Zofrea, Euan Macleod, Sidney Nolan and lots of extra.

There have also been famous people — 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.

Lucio and John Olsen at Lucio's Italian Restaurant in 2013.
Lucio with artist John Olsen who created menus for the restaurant.(Provided: Lucio’s)

It was Nolan’s sketch of Ned Kelly on the back of a docket that kick-started out Lucio’s renowned gallery of is effective that adorn the partitions inside of the restaurant, and the pavement and tree outdoors.

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

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

“I believe they observed how I took treatment of [the Nolan sketch]. Right after that they came in and requested ‘can I hang my art on your wall?’

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

Lucio’s foods, artwork and friendship auction

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

Garry Shead drawing on the kitchen door of Lucio's
Garry Shead was a normal at Lucio’s.(Instagram: luciospaddington)

A lucky buyer could also acquire residence ‘The Sacred Fish’ by Imants Tillers, which arrives with compact flecks of tomato sauce, courtesy of the patrons who have sat at the table down below the work considering the fact that 2016.

Lucio assures us that the sauce can be wiped off the paint oils, if not, he joked, the customer “can get an more 10 for every cent off!”.

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

“The selection of functions is incredible,” Ms Schriever mentioned.

“A lot of of the is effective are about certain encounters and exclusive occasions these types of as the Garry Shead functions that are all about banquets and feasts and element the two Garry and Lucio.”

It is anticipated the selection will complete someplace concerning $700,000 and $1,000,000, she mentioned.

Of all artworks hanging all over the partitions, there are only a couple of Lucio is holding for himself.

Lucio looking at Colin Lanceley's artwork Blue Swimmer Crab in his restaurant
One particular of Lucio’s favourites — Colin Lanceley was inspired by the restaurant’s blue swimmer crab inexperienced noodle dish.(ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

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

“I could not market it, it truly is as well particular for me, so I am likely to maintain it in my dwelling when we shut,” Lucio said.

He would also really like to continue to keep Fred Cress’ painting, titled Lucio’s Food, showcasing the arms of artists sharing a feast, but he thinks it could “be far too big” for the condominium he lives in.


‘He enjoys the people’

Lucio was elevated in the environment of dining places and artwork.

His household owned a cafe in the compact Italian seaside city in the province of Liguria and his cousin also operates a restaurant and an artwork gallery.

“It was like I was born in a cafe,” Lucio mentioned.

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

It was there he satisfied his spouse Sally, who was viewing her sister, who is married to Lucio’s cousin.

“We went to Paris to see if we ended up suitable to get married,” Lucio claimed with a chortle.

“We ended up preventing day-to-day so we mentioned ‘yes, we are ready to get married!'”

Galletto family at Lucio's
The restaurateur couple’s Matteo and Michela Galletto trained at Lucio’s.(Supplied: Lucio’s)

Lucio’s 1st occupation in Sydney in 1977 was at Natalino’s Restaurant in Kings Cross.

Although he enjoys foods and loves to prepare dinner (even though “he will make a mess” according to Sally), it was the entrance-of-household responsibilities that saved Lucio in the business.

“His forte is with the individuals,” Sally reported.

“He enjoys speaking to people, creating individuals happy.”

Sally joined the business enterprise in 1997 following a vocation in advertising and marketing, even though their two youngsters Matteo and Michela trained in hospitality and now also perform for the cafe.

‘We stick to the season’

Lucio’s has only experienced 5 head chefs in its lifetime, and most qualified the apprentices that then took in excess of the job.

George Kohler has been the restaurant’s head chef for the past a few many years, and was trained by his predecessor Logan Campbell, who was in Lucio’s kitchen area for 12 years.

The slow turnover of staff members intended the type of the meals rarely adjusted and reflected Lucio’s motto: “We adhere to the time, not the fashion”.

Staff work in Lucio's kitchen
The kitchen area employees ‘work miracles’ in the little place they have, Lucio states.(ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

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

“We use basil and I have built that into a gel and we inject that into the burrata to produce a wow factor.

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

“But for a two-hatted establishment … it is remarkable the foodstuff we can make and get out to the prospects at this kind of a high conventional.”

Until the following undertaking

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

Their subsequent venture, whilst not however verified, will be spearheaded by Matteo and Michela.

Fred Cress' Lucio's Food painting hanging in Lucio's
Fred Cress’ artwork titled Lucio’s Foods, like all the artworks Lucio has acquired comes with a personal tale.(ABC Sydney: Amanda Hoh)

“With any luck , we’ll do some thing else with our youngsters but it will be anything they sense about it, lead to [Lucio’s] was Sally and I,” Lucio explained.

“What I will skip, and I hope not for long due to the fact I hope to do a little something else, is that I will overlook individuals.

“I will overlook my team, miss out on observing the food stuff getting ready, the organisation of the kitchen, the staff in the kitchen operating so well alongside one another, but unquestionably the dining home.

“The eating room is the place I sense at house — generating positive that folks are owning a excellent time.