NE 79th Street -- with the Russian market Marky's, Brazilan hotspot Boteco, and the German Schnitzel House -- feels like New York at the turn of the century. Now there's the Italian social club with a name that means "I came, I saw, I conquered." The new Veni Vidi Vici is all about Abruzzo coffee, Italian wine, Italian ice, and Italian mini-bites daily.
Owner Roberto D'Angelo is a whirlwind of ideas, an Italian-American with deep roots to Philly. He's extremely animated and a little crazy -- a character who should not be missed.
Cusano Bakery supplies a host of artisan breads, and the Philadelphia Italian Ice Company offers eight flavors of extraordinary gluten-free ices made with only fresh juice (no sugar added).
Wine goes for $6 to $7 a glass. The Italian ice is a buck a scoop.
The spot boasts about 6,000 books, three-flat screen TV sets, chessboards, and, eventually, some serious Uno matches. Coming soon is an outdoor bocce ball court. D'Angelo dreams of adding a putting range, outdoor lounge with music, and cigar-smoking area, and it appears it all may happen.
A statue of a robust Italian chef ("Uncle Vinny") will stand outside, and any patron who takes a picture and posts it to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, or other social media will receive a free ice.
Vini Vidi Vici, which opened October 1, is a place to drink, enjoy, and relax. Or, as D'Angelo says: "Gotta make a bookstore sexy, and there is absolutely nothing like it around."