A new Italian restaurant called Vico Cavone will be opening this fall inside the former Firewood space at 4248 18th Street.
Vico Cavone is being opened by Alessandro Raimondi, Sanaa Hams, and Giancarlo Esposito. Raimondi tells Hoodline they plan to open by September.
Hoodline readers will recall neighborhood staple Firewood Cafe closed in 2019 after 22 years in the Castro.
Born in Naples, Italy, Raimondi tells Hoodline he moved to San Francisco seven years ago. For the past five years, he has worked as a server at Castro Italian restaurant Poesia (4072 18th St.).
Vico Cavone co-owners Sanaa Hams (left) and Alessandro Raimondi (right). | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Raimondi tells Hoodline he named the restaurant Vico Cavone after the street his father was born on in Naples.
"When people come inside the restaurant I want them to feel like they are on the streets of Naples," said Raimondi. "I want to bring the culture of the food and how we eat in downtown Naples to San Francisco."
Vico Cavone will be serving Neapolitan pizza, pasta, and desserts. Raimondi says the restaurant will offer full table service, and he is currently applying for a liquor license to serve beer, wine, and cocktails.
Raimondi said they just recently signed the lease to take over the space and are currently remodeling the restaurant. Raimondi is not planning any major work besides some simple cosmetic updates like painting and adding new furniture and fixtures.
According to Raimondi, Vico Cavone will also take advantage of the Shared Spaces platform to build outdoor seating in two parking spots. There will also be cafe tables and chairs along the sidewalk.
Inside Vico Cavone as work begins. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Vico Cavone will be Raimondi's first venture as a small business owner. "Opening a restaurant was my dream," he says.
Having previously worked as a fashion model, Raimondi tells Hoodline he's ready to start a new chapter in his life.
"As a young gay man, I never had any open things in Naples," said Raimondi. "It was hard for me to be gay there."
While many businesses have struggled the past year during the pandemic, Raimondi believes now is the right time to open a new restaurant.
Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
"Opening a restaurant is tough anyways," said Raimondi. "I see it a different way: people are waiting to do something fun after the pandemic."
He adds, "It's very exciting opening a new restaurant in the Castro. It's also been a long time since a new restaurant has opened in the Castro. It's also going to be the first restaurant to open after the pandemic." (That may or may not be true, depending on when several upcoming spots make their debut.)
"People are going to be very excited to have something new where they can enjoy and my Neopolitan culture along with the Castro gay culture," added Raimondi.
Vico Cavone's opening continues a wave of new Castro businesses opening as the city prepares for a full reopening on June 15. With this restaurant opening this fall, a total of nine businesses have opened or announced an opening in 2021.
On Wednesday, Hoodline shared the news of Japanese restaurant Sancha Sushi and board game shop Master Goblin Games opening.