Mogan Anthony and Joe Bueti Are a Restaurateur Dream Team

“We didn’t do anything on purpose.”

“We didn’t do anything on purpose,” is the line Village Social Restaurant Group’s (VSG) Joe Bueti has been trotting out lately. With the opening of Locali in the Mount Kisco Metro-North station in March, he and VSG executive chef and partner Mogan Anthony have opened three restaurants in as many years, growing the brand’s overall profile to five spots across three vastly different concepts.In 2009, Bueti wasn’t even sure he wanted one restaurant. After a three-year break from the industry, he put in a bid for the Village Social Mount Kisco space. “I swore I would never get back in the restaurant business,” recalls Bueti, who lived in Mount Kisco for 28 years. “I wasn’t even sure I wanted it, but it came to a point where everything felt right.”

Whole grilled branzino with lemongrass chimmichurri at Pubstreet in Plesantville.Photo by Doug Schneider
Everything, that is, except the chef. Roughly 18 months after opening and weathering multiple chef changes, Anthony joined the restaurant as a sous chef.“Mogan’s got a flair that I think some people don’t have,” says Bueti. “People come for our food. It sounds pretty easy, but it takes a lot to get to that point.”For their Mura ramen pop-ups, Anthony and Bueti traveled to Osaka to take classes at a local ramen school. For the opening of the original Locali in New Canaan, Anthony worked with chefs from NYC restaurants, including Major Food Group’s Parm. “New York City is sometimes 10 years ahead of Westchester,” says Anthony, who attributes VSG’s success to Bueti’s knack for recognizing what a town’s restaurant landscape needs. “How can we have a different flavor profile [from what’s already here]?”

Locali, which spawned a second location, in the Mount Kisco Metro-North Station, in March.Photo courtesy of Locali
Next up will be Fatt Rott, opening in Pleasantville. Again, the restaurant wasn’t on purpose; VSG was required to take the space as part of the deal for the building that would ultimately become globally inspired Pubstreet. “We’re trying to figure out a quick-service rice-bowl concept” says Anthony of Fatt Root, inspired by the East Village spots he and fellow cooks would frequent after work in NYC. “We’re designing a space that’s conducive to doing that during the day and to the possibility of coming in at dinnertime and being able to get a sit-down ramen,” adds Bueti. “It’s starting to feel right.”

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