The boys of Barino’s have entered the restaurant business.
For five years, Moe Aquino has run Barino’s Market in Country Club, a “neighborhood corner store” which sells homemade pasta and sausage, fresh meat and other groceries. Now Aquino’s passion for food has led him to open up Vibano’s Trattoria, an Italian restaurant located only two blocks down from Barino’s, on Ampere Avenue. Aquino’s partner from the market, Mike Barrett, is on board; the other member of the management trio is their friend, chef Vito Facciabene. Aquino and Barrett have worked together at the market for 20 years, while Facciabene has been a friend of Barrett’s for just about the same length of time. All three are quite well acquainted, at this point, and comfortable working together.
The idea for a restaurant had been germinating among the trio for almost a year.
Finally last September, we decided for sure that we would go through with it,” says Aquino. “We were already in the food business, that’s what we do, so this came naturally.”
The name, Vibano’s, is a clever combination of the three last names, and one that Aquino says customers should be able to figure out pretty easily.
Aquino is quick to distance his two businesses, noting that the new restaurant is not an extension of Barrino’s. Barrett, however, says the team is quite happy to direct the market’s faithful over to the new joint. “I’m confident about what we’re getting into because we have a great clientele down the block, and I like to take them over here,” he said.
Barrett also points out that a big selling point of the restaurant is Country Club’s lack of dining options. He shares a story of when a local gentleman showed up at Vibano’s and told Barrett, “I’ve lived here for 50 years, and there’s no restaurants. Finally I can sit down and have a meal without leaving the neighborhood.”
Aquino and Barrett both have trouble defining the restaurant’s menu. It sounds like a standard Italian place, and basing a restaurant on an age-old successful food formula isn’t a bad thing. Plus, the food is made with local love. Aquino describes the offerings as, “Italian food with a special something.”
On Tuesday, May 4, Vibano’s had a “soft opening” just for friends and family, and is now open to the public. There won’t be any grand opening, as Aquino says that he and the team are more low-key and avoid such fanfare.
The only hurdle left now for the Vibano management is acquiring liquor license, since they do have plans to serve wine and beer. That shouldn’t be a problem. The real task will be establishing Vibano’s as a beloved local staple. The guys hope that’ll happen sooner, rather than later.
Reach Daniel Roberts at (718) 742-3383 or droberts@c
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