2020 Boston Rising Star Chefs Michael Lombardi and Kevin O'Donnell of SRV

2020 Boston Rising Star Chefs Michael Lombardi and Kevin O'Donnell of SRV
June 2020

Before they were friends, chefs, and business partners, Kevin O’Donnell was growing up in Rhode Island while Michael Lombardi spent his childhood down the road in New Haven, Connecticut. Lombardi entered the hospitality industry during his studies at Boston University, picking up front-of-house gigs at area restaurants such as Legal Seafood. Graduating from The School of Management in 2008, Lombardi enrolled at The Culinary Institute of America, and, in 2009, moved to Orvieto, Italy, to cook under the tutelage of Chef Lorenzo Polegri. Later that year, he returned to the States for a spot on the line at Mark Ladner’s Del Posto in New York.

From a young age, O’Donnell was eager to get cooking. In 2004, he enrolled at Johnson & Wales, and, after earning his degree, he too travelled to Orvieto, interning at Ristorante Zeppelin and meeting Lombardi. O’Donnell briefly returned to Rhode Island to cook at the Castle Hill Inn before returning to Ristorante Zeppelin as sous chef. Two years later, O’Donnell relocated to New York City for the opportunity to work at Del Posto. 

By 2011, Lombardi and O’Donnell had teamed up and were off to Paris to help open lauded restaurant L’Office. In 2012, the two briefly parted ways for Lombardi to join Chef Justin Hilbert’s team at Gwynnett St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and O’Donnell to become executive chef of Boston’s The Salty Pig. After years of developing a concept for a Venetian-inspired bacaro restaurant and wine bar and with the help of The Salty Pig owner, Jim Cochener, they opened SRV in 2016. The eatery won Boston Magazine’s “Best Italian Restaurant” two years in a row and was named a semifinalist for the James Beard Awards’ “Best New Restaurant.”