NICHOLSON X FRANTOIO
Our debut Nicholson House is in full swing on London’s King’s Road. If you’re looking for a well-crafted cocktail, fun-filled atmosphere and simple, sensational food, then come on over. Tucked away in an unassuming 1960s low-rise on the King’s Road, you’ll find Italian neighbourhood restaurant Frantoio. It’s a gem of a place. A slice of Mediterranean sunshine served up with generous, open-armed hospitality.
And the secret to this two-decade old success story? In a word: Bucci – Frantoio’s irrepressible owner. Bucci’s idiosyncratic brand of hospitality – a warm welcome, family feel, high-energy service and trademark banter – means he has a devoted following of regulars. “I love my customers,” Bucci tells us on a blustery January morning while walking his little Brussels Griffon, Ella.
Bucci, How would you describe your business?
We’re one of thoseold school Italians,where you come inandit’s just nice. It’s home.And ifyou get the place, you you’ll love it.
After three decades in hospitality, what keeps you motivated?
Love. I love my customers. I’ve been in the community in Chelsea now since 1994. You seekids grow up. Yousee them getting married and having their own kids.Yousee theirgrandparents.Go to their weddings, their funeralsand shit. That’s what keeps me young.Every day is different.
How did the partnership with Nicholson come about?
Trust, friendship and a great product.If it’s a good product, and I like you, then I’d ratheruse your gin than anyone else’s. And Nicholson is amazing–itis areally beautiful LondonDry Gin. And, with Alex and Steve[the CEO and COO]driving itforwards, it’s great. Theycare. They really care. They could have had their pick of venues, but they chose me–thislittleginger Italian on the King’s Road andit’sgreat.
Your regulars come return to you because they love the traditional experience. Did it feel like the changes Nicholson brought in were a risk?
No because I trust them
How did Nicholson evolve the aesthetic at Frantoio?
They brought in a really cool neon sign up at the barand beautiful shelving behind with uplights on all the bottles. And they’ve put up a new canopy outside with branding, which is beautiful – it really is. Everything they’ve done looks beautiful.
How did Nicholson work with your team to make sure the cocktails are perfect every time ?
They came in for almost a week to train up the staff. They really care, they take the time–and that’s what makes the difference.
They came in for almost a w eek to train up the staff. They really care, they take the time – and that’s what makes the difference.
They love it. In December, when we launched the cocktails, it gave everything such a lift. It was the buzz of the drinks being made, the cocktails being shaken. And lots of customers were taking Instagram photos of the cocktails, which is great.It was nice to see that because it’s not a posey place.
How has it worked commercially?
We’ve seen at least a 15% to 20% increase in revenue. You know, suddenly a table of four are spending an extra £60 or £70. We’ve priced the cocktails very reasonably: £12 or £14. I didn’t want it to be too expensive, but we could easily have charged more. It’s been great.
And finally, what’s your favourite way to enjoy a Nicholson?
I love a Negroni. And the Bucci house cocktail, which is really nice. I won’t pretend to know what’s in it, but it’s bloody delicious.
Experience Nicholson x Frantoio for yourself at 397 King’s Rd, London SW10 0LR