The best cooks are the ones who really have Passion for cooking.
Jimmy Burke’s love affair with food dates back to his childhood, when his parents owned a restaurant in South Boston and he worked there on Saturdays and holidays. At home, food was every bit as important and he was fortunate to have his mother and aunts, all phenomenal cooks, as mentors. “I was always around food and food became part of me,” he recalls. When interviewed and asked who in his career had influenced him the most, the award-winning chef and cookbook author Chris Schlesinger answered, “Jimmy’s the first chef who taught me to have a respect for food, and whatever I was making to make it the best.”
In all, Jimmy has owned and operated thirteen restaurants. Osteria Vivo Restaurant & Bar is the fourth and latest that he has co-owned with his wife, Joanie Wilson. Joanie leaves the kitchen to Jimmy but brings her own unique energy and vision to the front of the house, making sure that everything—from the design and decor to daily operations—flows seamlessly. Osteria Vivo represents the culmination of their nearly four decades of experience in the restaurant business.
After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in the last ’70s, Jimmy worked under Andreas Meyer, who eventually helped him land a chef job at Harvest in Cambridge. After three years at Harvest, Jimmy realized he was ready to be his own boss. There was a restaurant called Allegro for sale in Waltham, Massachusetts, and he bought it.
When it opened in 1981, Allegro established a new gold standard in the Boston area that was met for the next ten years. The Tuscan Grille was another ten-year run. After that, the couple opened Riva in Scituate and Orta in Pembroke, which continue to operate successfully today. In 2016, they opened Vivo, a country-style Italian restaurant considered to be one of the best restaurants in the the lakes region of Maine. In 2019, Jimmy and Joanie opted to return to their native Massachusetts. Two years later and post-pandemic, they are excited to welcome diners to Osteria Vivo Restaurant & Bar in Pembroke.
Jimmy and Joanie have traveled often and extensively in Italy, establishing lifelong relationships with a number of wine producers there, including Matteo Ascheri in the Piedmont and Elisabetta Fagiuoli (Montenidoli) and Erik Banti of Tuscany. Osteria Vivo Restaurant & Bar is the fulfillment of their desire to bring their experiences in Italy to their diners; the look, the aroma, and ingredients of Italian cuisine without egoistic embellishments. From the beginning of their travels throughout Italy they have understood that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If you use fresh, quality ingredients in traditional Italian dishes that dictate “the fewer the better,” the more clearly and enjoyably the dishes will express themselves and the heritage and delight of Italian cuisine.
Over the course of his career, Jimmy has had the honor to be one of twelve chefs chosen to create and cook a five-course dinner in honor of Julia Child’s 80th birthday gala, as well as being one of a select group of Boston chefs to represent the U.S. on a cultural tour and culinary exchange in China. He was awarded Food & Wine’s “Honor Roll of American Chefs” in 1983, and in addition to many other news sources, has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, Food & Wine magazine, and The Boston Globe.
Chef Douglas Rodrigues’ first memories of food were his grandfather’s farm in Scituate, Massachusetts. Running through the fields, picking fresh corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and more really set the foundation for his appreciation for fresh food and interest in becoming a chef. He got his first taste of the restaurant industry at thirteen years old when he was driven to find a job that would underwrite his penchant for skateboards. He spent one year flipping burgers at Bergson’s, a local diner chain, but yearned to recreate the kind of cooking he saw Julia Child do while watching television with his mother. He made the jump to fine dining in 1999, working in the kitchens of some of the South Shore’s most prestigious restaurants.
After years at the Atlantica on Cohasset Harbor, Tosca in Hingham, Saporito’s Florence Club Café in Hull, and The Winsor House Inn in Duxbury, Rodrigues wanted more. He called Clio in 2006, set up a stagé and was offered the position. In a major departure from the rustic-style cooking with which he’d become familiar, Rodrigues was thrust into Clio’s disciplined world where each ingredient is treated with a different, globally-influenced technique.
It was during his years at Clio, under celebrity chef and James Beard Award winner Ken Oringer’s tutelage, that he learned how French, Asian, Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian techniques and ingredients come together in modern, painstakingly-concepted and crafted dishes. Rodrigues continued his education in fine dining under Michelin-starred chef Guy Martin when he joined the opening team of Sensing in Boston in 2009.
When Rodrigues rejoined the staff at Clio in the role of Sous Chef, he challenged himself with the task of creating original dishes for the Clio menu while progressing through the ranks to Executive Chef. The experience was priceless. It afforded him the opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s top chefs producing many high-profile international food and wine events, including at the StarChefs Gala in New York, the Ritz Carleton in Hong Kong, and the Michelin-rated Villa Joya in Portugal.
In 2015 he headed over to Back Bay to take the helm at Liquid Art House, where he was able to stretch the boundaries between art and food. In 2017 he opened up North Square Oyster in Boston’s North End, diving deep into New England’s seafood culture. Aquitaine in Boston’s historic South End was a dive back into classic French cuisine.
As a South Shore native, Rodrigues has long harbored a desire to move “home” to open a restaurant. Osteria Vivo fulfills that dream at the precise moment in his career. It represents a partnership between him and owners Jimmy Burke and Joanie Wilson. While Wilson holds down the front of the house, what Jimmy and Doug bring to the kitchen is a fusion of forty years of Jimmy’s classic Italian cooking and Doug’s more modern influence with hyper-seasonal touches. Seasonally and locally-sourced produce, seafood and meat are the essential ingredients in every dish. Together they have spent more than a year developing a menu that takes full advantage of Osteria Vivo’s proximity to the best fish and shellfish in the country. From the simplicity of local oysters as antipasti to Lobster and Oxtail Bolognese to Haddock Salmoriglio, they both feel strongly that it’s all about the ingredients.
Over the course of his career, Rodrigues has been featured in multiple local magazines, has appeared on television in segments of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Chopped, and was named “New Culinary Muscle” in Boston Phoenix magazine. He was invited by the James Beard Foundation to host his own dinner at the James Beard House in 2011 and was winner of the “Taste of Elegance” pork summit in 2011.
Sylvain Linozzi, Bar Manager, grew up in Beaune, Burgundy. Graduate from cooking school, trained in oenology and front and back of the house, with experience in fine dining, luxury and four stars establishments.
“the way in which meals are enjoyed is very important to the happiness of life.” Brillat-Savarin
Michael Burke and Sharon Ryder brother and sister of Jimmy Burke have been in the restaurant business all their lives. Mike a chef in his own right, has worked at some of the country’s best resorts in Arizona, Las Vegas, Mohegan Sun in Connecticut as well as some of greater Boston’s best restaurants including the Hyatt Regency in Cambridge, Allegro and Tuscan Grill in Waltham and as a Chef partner at Riva Restaurant in Scituate. Mike Joined the kitchen staff at Vivo in Bridgton Maine as the Chef de Cuisine. He now will be heading up the prep staff at Osteria Vivo.
Sharon Ryder has been a bartender for many years, Working at Georges Café and Allegro on Boylston.Sharon has cooked at Vivo in Bridgton Maine creating her famous pasta and ran a successful breakfast program at Riva restaurant in Scituate. Sharon will be in charge of all the fresh pasta at Osteria Vivo