Chefs Rita Sodi (left) and Jody Williams at their restaurant Via Carota.
Photo: Courtesy of Via Carota

Creative Minds: Rita Sodi & Jody Williams

Partners in business and life, the self-taught chefs have carved a place atop the Manhattan restaurant scene with Via Carota, I Sodi, Buvette, and Commerce Inn

Cocktail served at Buvette NYC. Photo: Courtesy of Buvette NYC.

When is a bowl of pasta not just a bowl of pasta? In the capable and creative hands of Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, twirls of pappardelle and mountains of tagliatelle become an escape to another time and place. With a series of restaurants in New York’s West Village, which can be identified by the lines of diners snaking around the block for a coveted table, they’ve built a community of establishments that feel authentic and transportive. “It comes from a place of making things we want to eat and love,” explains Williams.

Both self-taught chefs, the partners in business and life have opened a string of instant classics over the past 16 years, including Via Carota, I Sodi, Buvette, Bar Pisellino, and Commerce Inn, which are distinguished as much by their carefully considered menus that home in on a specific idea (Italian side dishes at Via Carota, French gastro tech at Buvette, old New York taverns at Commerce Inn) as their inviting decor, thoughtfully considered down to the branded coasters.

Burrata e Pomodorini at I Sodi. Photo: Courtesy of I Sodi

Italian roots: “My inspiration comes from my family in Italy—the things I want to share with people,” says Sodi. “My background is not in food but in the textile and clothing business. I was traveling around the world eating at not so great restaurants, and it made me want to open I Sodi in New York.”

Via Carota. Photo: Courtesy of Via Carota

Buvette NYC. Photo: Courtesy of Buvette NYC

Interior motives: “For the design, we don’t have a big plan. We shop a lot in Italy and just start collecting objects that accumulate on our table at home. But we’re very good at editing, so it doesn’t become cliché,” says Williams.

Slow and steady: “We’re snails. We’re patient. We do something. We take a step back and say, ‘How do we feel?’ We’re very practical people,” reflects Williams.

A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2024 Spring Issue under the headline “Creative Minds.” Subscribe to the magazine.

Cover: Chefs Rita Sodi (left) and Jody Williams at their restaurant Via Carota.
Photo: Courtesy of Via Carota


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