Sandro Celebrates 25 Years in NYC with Gael, Mimi

Sandro Fioriti of the eponymous Roman restaurant on the Upper East Side, celebrated 25 years in the city's restaurant industry last night--even though not all 25 years were actually spent in New York. The Umbrian chef opened up shop under the 59th Street Bridge back in 1985, serving authentic Roman food the likes of which had never been seen in New York. When his place closed in 1992, he fled to the Hamptons, then the Caribbean before resurfacing in Manhattan at a string of different establishments, including a second Sandro's in Chelsea in 2002. The current incarnation of Sandro's opened in 2007.

In his signature multicolored pajama pants, the hulking chef welcomed food writing royalty to his humble establishment last night--Gael Greene, the founders of Food & Wine and Food Arts Ariane and Michael Batterberry, and Mimi Sheraton of the Times, who recently singled out Sandro's amatriciana as the best she'd ever had, were in attendance--as well as members of the Italian press (and us).

"It's been challenging but it's a great feeling to be cooking in this great city," Sandro told us, adding, "My relationship with food writers has always been one of respect. I have to say that the press has been fair with me even when the article was not too good."

To keep the party going, Sandro will be offering a special $25 three-course menu all next week.

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