There was more enmity and rivalry in The Sopranos than friendship, but the series still squeezed in an odd buddy plot. DiMeo crime family boss Tony Soprano and restaurateur Artie Bucco were familiar with each other, having known each other since childhood. They managed to keep their bond tight in adulthood, with Tony frequenting Artie’s Vesuvio restaurant.
What made Artie and Tony’s friendship interesting was that they were nothing alike. While Tony was tough and confident, Artie was depicted as an insecure and self-loathing person. And even though Tony was intolerant to displays of weakness (evident from the way he handled his son AJ), he made exceptions for Artie.
Tony Protects Artie From The Truth The Arson Attack
Tensions were high between Tony and Junior at the start of the series. When Tony learned that Junior was planning to whack “Little Pussy” Malanga inside Vesuvio, he couldn’t let it happen. He tried reasoning with Junior and after failing to do so, he ordered Silvio to burn Vesuvio, one of the things may have forgotten from the first Soprano‘s episode. He figured that customers would still come back after an arson attack, but they’d never come back to a restaurant where someone had been murdered.
Tony refrained from telling Artie what he had done, knowing that his friend would never understand that it was for his own benefit. Though Tony kept quiet, his mother Livia revealed all the details to Artie when he visited her at the hospital. Angry, he confronted Tony with a rifle outside Satriale’s Pork Store, but the mob boss insisted he wasn’t involved. This helped preserve their friendship.
Tony Allows Artie To Sleep In His Mother’s Old House
“It’s always the nice ones that have marital problems.” Those were the words Rosalie Aprille said to her fellow mob wives when news came out that Artie would be separating from his wife. However, Artie was no saint. It was his obsession with Adriana that had contributed to the failure of his marriage.
After parting ways with his wife, the restaurateur decided to live in a motel. Being the good friend that he was, Tony invited him to stay at Livia’s old house. This gave both men a chance to bond since Tony was also on bad terms with Carmela at that time, one of the times that fans thought Carmela should have been with Furio instead.
Tony Visits Artie At The Hospital
Artie found himself in an awkward spot when Jean-Philippe, the brother of one of his employees, lent him $50,000 so that he could facilitate the distribution of Armagnac. When it came time to pay, Jean-Philippe became hostile. Artie had no idea what to do, so Tony told him to be tough for once and rough up Jean-Philippe.
The Vesuvio owner was not used to physical confrontation, but he did it anyway. Unfortunately, he proved to be an incapable fighter, with Jean-Philippe ripping out his earring and throwing him out of his apartment. Tony later had a heart-to-heart moment with Artie when he visited him and Artie expressed admiration for Tony and how he normally handled such matters with ease.
Artie Demands An Explanation From Tony For Visiting Another Restaurant
Artie and Carmela were the two people who could yell at Tony without any consequences. For Artie, it was all about loyalty. He was infuriated when Tony dined at the new Italian restaurant, Da Giovanni’s, so he sought an explanation.
Tony understood where Artie was coming from and made him realize why Vesuvio was losing customers. Artie was interacting too much with customers instead of focusing on the kitchen. Tony also pointed out a stale menu and poor décor. The best advice he gave to Artie was to give discounts, which did the trick.
Tony Orders Artie To Stop Feuding With Benny Fazio
Immediately after coming out of prison, Benny became one of Tony’s most trusted lieutenants and one of the Sopranos characters responsible for the highest kill counts. Though Tony loved Benny, Artie had a problem with him because he was crushing on a woman he also had eyes on. Benny wanted Martina and so did Artie. This led to a feud between the two, in which the chef kept testing the mobster’s patience.
Realizing that things were going to get out of hand, Tony ironically reminded Artie that he was a married man (he had just reconciled with his wife). There was no need to repeat the same mistake that had ruined his marriage in the first place. Artie thus learned to get along with Benny and even interacted cordially with him at Cristopher’s bachelor party.
Artie Works Overtime To Prepare A Meal For The Sopranos
During a fierce thunderstorm in the season 1 finale, Tony and his family sought shelter at Nuovo Vesuvio. It was way past closing time, but Artie decided to keep the kitchen open and prepare a nice meal for the Sopranos.
It was a nice gesture since Tony was not only one of his closest buddies but also his most loyal customer. Tony complimented Artie on the meal and toasted to good times ahead.
Tony Suggests That Artie Visit Dr. Melfi
In the final season, Artie was spiraling out of control, so Tony came with an idea for him to get better. While dining with Carmela and his mother-in-law, the New Jersey mob boss advised his friend to consider seeing Dr. Melfi. It was a good recommendation, given how much smart advice Dr. Melfi gave Tony to help him get over his own personal struggles.
Artie dismissed the idea, but it was later suggested that he should start seeing a psychiatrist. He was not only able to put his personal issues in order but was also able to bring his business back to profitability, making for one of the best redemption storylines in The Sopranos.
Artie Takes Care Of Tony After The Shooting
Tony had to remain hospitalized for weeks after Junior accidentally shot him in the stomach in the final season, one of the most shocking scenes in The Sopranos didn’t result in death. Upon being discharged, he had a limited choice of meals since his internal organs were still recovering.
Artie came to the rescue, providing Tony with customized meals that his body could tolerate. This way, Tony was able to achieve full recovery. Artie also made sure to remind Tony of this when the DiMeo crime family head went to dine at Da Giovanni’s. He bluntly told Tony that the chefs there would never have prepared special meals for him when he was sick,
Tony Shows Up At The Restaurant After Fighting With Artie
After the hospital incident, Artie and Tony remained on non-speaking terms for a while. This happened because Tony offered to take care of the debt that Jean-Philippe had refused to pay on the condition that Artie cancels the don’s $6,000 unpaid bill at Vesuvio.
Artie insisted that this was Tony’s wish all along, making the mob boss angry in the process. The two refused to speak to each but even during this time, Tony was still shown stepping into Vesuvio once to have his meal. Despite their differences, Tony was still willing to promote his friend’s business.
Artie Denies Responsibility For Tony’s Food Poisoning
In the season 2 finale, Tony became sick and began having fever dreams. After, it was revealed that Tony was suffering from food poisoning and Carmela blamed Artie for it.
As proof of his concern, Artie personally showed up at the Soprano home to convince Tony and Carmela that the quality of his food had always been good. Artie learned that Tony had in fact eaten at an Indian restaurant the night before. He even called Big Pussy, who had been at the restaurant too, to confirm if he was sick.