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food / travel

The Italian Mozzarella Bar Conquering The World

A second Obica location has now opened in New York, bringing the global chain's high-end authentic mozzarella experience to a new level of global expansion.

NYC Flatiron's Obica Mozzarella Bar
NYC Flatiron's Obica Mozzarella Bar
Francesco Semprini

NEW YORK — When patrons come to the Flatiron District location of the Obicà Mozzarella Bar, they often say what a perfect spot it is, declares the company's U.S. manager Raimondo Boggia. With that, he welcomes us to the newest location of the Italian chain that has already conquered some of the world's key markets.

The company was founded in 2004 on the initiative of owner Silvio Ursini, and it has since grown to 20 restaurants in Rome, Florence, Milan, Tokyo, London, Los Angeles and New York. With the new Flatiron District location, Obicà now has two restaurants in the Big Apple.

It's just another Italian touch in an area full of boutiques and offices affiliated with the Bel Paese including the ginormous emporium that is Eataly.

"It was a shrewd choice, carefully thought through and studied," Boggia says. "We surveyed different areas, but we didn't want anything too fashionable. On one hand, there was the importance of making Obicà stand out among many others, but on the other to find where the right target audience were."

When he saw the location, Boggia imagined how it would look and knew right away that it was the right choice. The rest is history: an inspirational industrial environment, with visible pipelines, exposed red bricks and high-beamed ceilings, two counters, one bar and a restaurant.

The renovation and decor created by Labics Studio and architect Maria Claudia Clemente reflect the philosophy of the mozzarella bar, an elegant reception for each of the more than 150 seats, ideal for those who want to enjoy authentic food. The extensive menu is prepared by chef Enzo Banks. The cheese is imported from Italy, but it's not the only food on offer. There are also traditional antipasti, primi piatti (pastas), as well as main dishes, plus other mouthwatering innovations. And then there's the pizza.

Los Angeles-based Neapolitan chef Daniele Uditi is in charge of the pizza menu, and this "pizza alchemist" is somewhat of a celebrity at the Los Angeles branch. "The secret is the dough — 65% stone-ground flour and 35% whole wheat flour, leavened over 48 hours," he says. It's all in accordance with the Slow Food Movement: "good-clean-fair."

During Boggia's 10 years at the company, they have revamped their image to "reinforce the Italian-ness" — notably the change of spelling, from Obikà to Obicà, which, in Neapolitan dialect, means "here it is."

The Flatiron District is increasingly multifaceted, by day a hectic area of office workers and by night a worldly area with good taste. But, above all, it's becoming more and more Italian.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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