Anthony joined Bueti at Village Social in 2011, and although they have very different backgrounds, the two men have a lot in common. In addition to sharing the same beliefs about giving to charity, they also both stumbled into the restaurant business.
Bueti first became interested in the industry during college while he was studying landscape design. He commuted home each weekend to work at Tuscan Oven in Mt. Kisco, and it was there that he developed a passion for the industry, and wood-fired pizza in particular. Much to his father’s dismay, Bueti convinced his older brothers to open a restaurant with him, and together they began Caffe Strega in Pleasantville in the 1990s.
“He asked me, ‘what do you know about the restaurant business – this isn’t the industry you grew up in,’” Bueti remembers. “He was an immigrant from Italy, and he was so upset and so vulnerable that he couldn’t help me. All he knew how to do was landscape.”
The brothers sold the restaurant in 1999, and Bueti opened 121 in North Salem in the spring of 2000, where he stayed until 2007.
Looking for a change, Bueti joined his father and brothers in the landscape business for three years. But throughout that time, Peter Smaha, a former 121 customer kept in touch. He knew Bueti would return to the restaurant industry eventually, and he wanted to be Bueti’s partner. He called Bueti regularly asking him to check out potential restaurant spaces he’d found, but nothing ever seemed right. And then one day, it happened.
“I was driving through Mount Kisco, and I noticed that Woody’s was closing up and going out of business,” Bueti remembers. “So, I showed it to Peter and approached the owner.”