Carlo Mirarchi, head chef and owner of Roberta’s and Blanca, is no stranger to 3x1. Carlo and Scott go way back, so we’ve been admiring his craft for years. We take the artistry of building a perfect jean very seriously, and Carlo takes a similar approach with his cooking. We’re honored to have Carlo as our first feature for our brand new “Made Here” series - a series that will give you a look into the lives of local creatives and entrepreneurs, and explores how the term “Made Here” applies to different facets of their lives.
“I had the pleasure of making Carlo Mirarchi's company almost 11 years ago, back in the day when Carlo was honing his cooking chops at Good World in Chinatown (which we still miss to this day). It's safe to say that Carlo is a modern day renaissance man. He’s got an incredible appreciation for quality ingredients and organic wines, but we probably bonded over our love of beer and chicken wings. He’s running a couple of successful businesses, but it’s all tempered by his need for speed (racing motorcycles is a passion). That being said, the most remarkable thing about Carlo is his sense of humor and his ability to make those around him feel appreciated and inspired. His story, and the success of Roberta's and his two-Michelin star restaurant Blanca, will someday be the stuff of legend, if it isn't already.
Although it's always fun to reminisce about the past and to say that you knew someone 'way back when', what’s amazing about Carlo is that the man you meet today is every bit the same as a decade ago: funny, down-to-earth, happy, and having fun than anyone could or should in a kitchen. For those of you who haven't had the pleasure of dining at one of Carlo's restaurants, please take the trip out to Bushwick— yep, the one next to Williamsburg, and we assure you it's worth it. And if you're not in New York City at the moment but want a taste of Roberta's at home, you can now buy frozen Roberta's from Whole Foods or order online from Fresh Direct. Also be sure to check out the Roberta's Cookbook. You'll thank us later! ”
-Scott Morrison, Founder & CEO of 3x1
Q: Before Roberta’s and Blanca became a reality, what initially drew you to the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn?
A: I had lived in the area around 2000 to 2003, at the Dekalb stop. It was cheap, and spaces were huge. It was also relatively empty compared to other areas of Brooklyn, and the L was at least better than the G. We had a 3000 SF loft with a hot tub for 1500k a month.
Q: Beside the obviously delicious food, people tend to compliment the overall vibe of both Roberta’s and Blanca. The music, the decor, etc. Is this a direct reflection of your personal taste?
A: I think its important that when you walk into any space, be it a bookstore, a record shop, a bar or advertising office, it should reflect the sensibilities of those who operate it day to day, and i believe that is most successful when you have owner/operators, owners who are there everyday, making decisions in real time, interacting with guest, clients, the staff, everyone and everything. The space can then become a natural extension of their tastes and sensibilities, it feels like you are in a space where someone wants you to feel a certain way, enjoy a certain type of experience. It feels like someone cares about you.
Q: I’m sure you have a bucket list of restaurants. Tell us a few of them.
A: Mugaritz, Hajime, Ishikawa, Asador Etxebarri, Gus' Fried Chicken.
Q: At Blanca, the kitchen is exposed to the guests, allowing them to see each step of their meal being prepared - much like the way our factory sits in the middle of the store, allowing shoppers to see their jeans being constructed. How do you think this aspect of transparency adds to the overall experience?
A: I feel that the food we do at Blanca is about striving for purity.....purity of flavor, purity of technique, purity of ingredients. Of course this is an ideal that we struggle to achieve every day rather than an actual practice, but i believe part of that process is allowing our guests to see what we do, as we are doing it, and interact with us throughout service.
Q: If it was someone’s first time eating at Roberta’s, what would you tell them to order?
A: Bottle of Lou Coulego Chardonnay, and all the house meats.......N'duja, Duck Prosciutto, Coppa, Testa, and some of our bread.
Q: And at Blanca, what dishes can’t you miss?
A: Its not a good idea to get up to go to the bathroom during the pasta courses.
Q: What would we find you doing on your days off?
A: I try to get to the racetrack whenever I can on my 899 and 675R, bearing that I might be at Peking Duck House or Ten Bells.
Q: How long have you been wearing 3x1 and what’s your jean of choice?
A: I’ve been wearing M5’s in raw indigo or the black xx133 denim since 3x1 opened. Honestly though Scott is not only an incredibly creative and talented individual but also an amazing and inspiring human being. We have known each other way before 3x1 and Roberta's, and I am extremely proud of what he does. I wear them every service, and on my days off......
Carlo is wearing a pair of raw M5's that have worn in very nicely. Shop The M5 in xx70 here.
Q: Tell us one (appropriate) thing about Scott that we might not know.
A: He sucks at cooking brisket.
Q: What’s in your bag?
A: 1. Bike Magazine. 2. Leather jump rope. 3. Creative Labs headphones. 4. Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy. 5. Italian passport. 6. Portable battery 7. Eel skin wallet that my dad gave me.
Q: And finally, how is the 'Made Here' concept relevant to your life and business? Whether it’s ingredients, partners, giving back, etc.
A: To me Made Here is about doing things for the right reasons, with the right people. Its about treating people fairly and with respect, about loyalty and about lifting others up even though it might push you down. Its about understanding the difference between success and happiness, and being able to achieve both on your own terms.
Blanca's feature in Vogue - "Karlie Kloss In The Kitchen: The Model Takes Us On A New York Restaurant Tour"