By Hillary Latos
Before the days of Top Chef and celebrity chef TV fame, there were the legendary restaurateurs like Tony May who was instrumental in shaping the landscape and direction of New York’s culinary scene. Starting with operating the Rainbow Room in 1968 to creating the first fine Italian dining establishments, Palio and San Domenico that earned a coveted 3 stars rating from the New York Times. His foresight and modern thinking and reinterpretation of contemporary Italian is what made him so successful in one of the most competitive industries in the city. While culinary talents reign in the May genes, over the last half decade he established the more contemporary SD26 with his vivacious daughter Marisa, who is excited about their five year anniversary in the Flatiron district and is looking forward to the next 20 years.
“We’re very excited for our 5 year anniversary it’s been such an amazing journey. We were very lucky to have had a 20 year run on Central Park South, and when our lease was up we wanted to build a younger, sexier, more contemporary San Domenico that would take us through the next 20 years. We didn’t want to forget the past but we wanted to shed that formal image we had built and we’ve been very embraced by the neighborhood. We built an incredible wine bar, an open kitchen with a chef’s table, a salumeria, and a balcony to bring in the feeling of a theater. Our chef Matteo Bergamini has been with us from the beginning starting at the Central Park South location and then training in formal French under Daniel Boloud to coming here and has been instrumental to the success of the restaurant which is the continuity and personal touch that makes us stand out. If you don’t take risks in life you will never know. In the 5 years we have always stayed true to who we were and what we’ve built in the city as restaurateurs. You really have to keep an open mind and evolve and change in this industry as the customer evolves.
Our anniversary begins September 15 which will run through October 15. We’ll be creating special prix fixe menus at a lower price, as well as wine tastings with the producers, it’s our way of celebrating with the community. Italians love to celebrate with a party filled with great food and wine and of course great company. Maybe one day we will expand, but we love NY and this has been my father’s city for 51 years, I don’t think we will ever leave NY.”
19 E 26th Street
NY, NY 10010