“You hear your uncle’s gonna hurt my business by staging a hit in my place and that’s your solution? Burn it down…?”
Artie Bucco is Tony’s one close civilian friend. They’ve known each since high school, and when Tony went into his family’s business, so did Artie. He’s the owner and chef of the Nuovo (New) Vesuvio Restaurant, Tony’s crew’s favorite eatery.
Artie is fully aware of what Tony does for a living, and he’s both attracted and repelled by it. He enjoys the cachet of hanging out with mobsters, and his affection for Tony is genuine. But that affection was severely tested when Tony, looking for a way to prevent his uncle from having someone murdered at Vesuvio, had the restaurant blown up. When Artie found out, he went ballistic himself, briefly threatening Tony with a hunting rifle. Ultimately, though, Artie decided to forgive Tony, and welcomed him to his new restaurant. His choice to be Tony Soprano’s friend has cost Artie more than just a restaurant, however. His wife, Charmaine – his high school sweetheart – left him for a period because of his mob ties.
Tony’s business has been critical to Vesuvio’s financial survival, but lately the combination of Artie’s obsequious style, dodgy service and somewhat tired menu has led some crew members to believe that he has lost his edge – and that the new place, Da Giovanni, is the best spot in town.
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