Story of the restaurant that sold a thousand tons of mozzarella di bufala

Apr 21 2024, 15:43
When thinking of a single-product format, one must choose wisely. Silvio Ursini did just that when, about 20 years ago, he brought to life the first mozzarella bar. The story of Obicà

When thinking of a single-product format, one must choose wisely. Who knows if Silvio Ursini thought so when, about 20 years ago, he brought to life the first mozzarella bar Obicà. At the time, he was the vice president of Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, and during a trip to Japan, he witnessed the live preparation of sushi, convincing himself that a similar format could work in Italy, but with mozzarella. Thus, in 2004, the first mozzarella bar was born. Initially named Obikà - with a vague nod to Japan - over the years, the 'K' gave way to a much more Italian 'C', but the essence did not change much. Buffalo mozzarella is always the protagonist, in various versions: classic, smoked, in small mouthfuls, there is also room for buffalo ricotta, stracciatella, and burrata. They are identity products, recognizable, versatile, offered plain, with cold cuts (also buffalo), or vegetables, but also in more elaborate dishes, such as "schiaffoni" with tomato and mozzarella (one of the first courses, along with things like lasagnetta with ragù or cacio e pepe with "peperone crusco"), big salads, or pizzas. The offer, in short, is inclusive, speaking of a fresh and cosmopolitan Italianity, where even burgers and other more international dishes enjoy a tricolor touch.

The format did not take long to expand. Today there are 24 locations in Italy and abroad with 500 employees, even reaching Japan, where the idea was born. Exchange hubs, airports first and foremost, are ideal locations for a venue that has a strong appeal to the international public, given that it is based on a product symbol of Made in Italy. But also highly frequented places, such as tourist areas, shopping streets, outlets, and department stores, are preferred destinations. After all, the formula is simple, reassuring, and attractive. It could be a case history: by doing the math, from 2004 to today, Obicà has totaled over 500 million euros in revenue, 300 suppliers, and one million kilograms of PDO Buffalo mozzarella sold. It celebrates its 20th anniversary with a series of menu events to offer customers in Italy, London, and New York, some of the signature dishes and excellences that have accompanied the brand over the years, starting with PDO Buffalo mozzarella: until the end of May, there is the "Figliata" of buffalo milk, stuffed with small mouthfuls and fresh cream, optionally paired with dishes like crostini with "pomodorino del piennolo" and oregano, or caponata and sun-dried tomato pesto. From June to August, there is a collaboration with the Gentile pasta factory, followed by one with the Santoro charcuterie, while November and December are the turn of Savitar truffles. All accompanied by a series of drinks dedicated to the six Italian cities where Obicà is present, signed by Luca Scrimenti. In 2021, the Scudieri family acquired the brand from an English investment fund, and now aims to continue its internal growth, with the acquisition of agricultural companies, and expansion abroad, the next stop is in France, near Paris (but the capital of France is a target), while keeping a close eye on the United States, especially on the East Coast, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia.

cross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram