MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Please joinme in welcoming Sal Scognamillo.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Thank you.
Very happy to be here.
Thank you so much, Michael.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Andhopefully, a few of you had the opportunityto check out– there were some fooditems that were made in the One cafe, some escarole,zucchini, broccoli rabe, some pasta– chi chi? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Chi chi, yes.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:I'm not Italian– SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Chickpeas.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: I'mtrying to learn Italian.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Yes.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Anyof those your favorites? SAL SCOGNAMILLO:I love all that.
Zucchini is one ofmy favorites, too, either the pie or the scapescestyle, very, very tasty.
Something different, andit's all grandpa's recipes, you know.
And him and my grandmotherstarted this restaurant.
I don't know how theyhad the fortitude in the middle of World War II.
They were doing this.
And it's just amazing becausethey did the hard work.
And then I really just haveto keep the car on the road, so to speak.
And I also want to thank Googlefor having me here today.
This is wonderful.
I'm very, very honoredto be with them.
And thank you forinterviewing me as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Absolutely.
You know, Patsy'sis associated with, as I said, many celebritieswho continue to go and enjoy the food to this day.
Probably one of the mostlegendary celebrities that Patsy's is known ashaving the honor to serve is a gentlemannamed Frank Sinatra.
And, you know, there's areally great video clip.
Sal has put up a fewvideo clips on YouTube.
And I wanted toshare this before we talk a little bit about Frank.
But there's a clip of Saltelling the story on YouTube about how he first metFrank Sinatra when he was a little boy at the restaurant.
So why don't weplay that, and then we can talk a little bit aboutFrank and other celebrities? [VIDEO PLAYBACK] -And he says, hey– hey, Sal,you want to meet Frank Sinatra? I'm 13 years old.
I said, OK, no problem.
And my job was to get him in.
He had a secret entrance here.
I had to get himin the side door and bring him up to the secondfloor dining room, an entrance to come in here.
We'd put him in thisroom, close the curtains.
No one knew he was here.
And I had the key to the door.
And I can rememberit to this day because I didn't sleepfor two days afterwards.
I was trying to getthat key in the door.
I was jiggling.
I was so nervous, sonervous, because he wanted to shake my hand.
He says, hey, kid.
How are you? You're Joe's son.
And all I had wasone thing on mind.
I want to get him in the door,make sure I don't screw this up for my family.
And I finally did,and it was fun.
And he shook my hand.
It was a lot of laughs.
And then, the firsttime I cooked for him, I was about 22 years old.
My father was in thedining room with him.
My father had a suit on.
My father was a chef before me.
So Sinatra says tomy dad, he says, Joe, what are youdoing with a suit? You've got to go in thekitchen and cook for me.
He says, no, my kidSal took over that.
He says, let me go see him.
I'm in the kitchen here,minding my own business.
The door swings open.
I look up.
It's Frank Sinatra.
I said, oh, hi.
He said, hey, kid.
I says, yes, Mr.
Sinatra? He says, make sure you cookas good as your pop does.
[END PLAYBACK] MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: What weresome of the other dishes Frank liked? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: He like stuffedartichoke, which I just made.
I taped the other dayon Meredith Vieira.
I'm going to be on March 17th.
And I guess it's appropriateit's St.
Patrick's Day, so it was green food.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Artichoke, right.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: And heliked the veal Milanese was his favorite for a main course.
It's a scallopini of veal,very thin, flour, eggs, seasoned bread crumbs,fried until it was crisp.
He really– I mean, he atemore or less everything.
One of the things, towardsthe end of his life, he couldn't eat asmuch– eating the garlic.
So anything I madefor him with garlic, I would saute the wholecloves in the olive oil just to get the flavor, andtake out the garlic then, and add the tomatoes.
Or if it was to the artichokesor anything like that.
It's just amazing.
We say it's the restaurantmade famous by Frank Sinatra.
And we're so lucky that ifyou come into the restaurant, you see there's a lot ofcelebrity photos on the wall.
And almost every one ofthem could be connected to Frank one way or another.
Like he brought in Frankie Valliin 1962, the year I was born.
He was coming to ourrestaurant 54 years now because Frank broughthim the first time.
He brought Tony Bennett.
He brought Rosemary Clooney.
He brought George Clooney.
And it's really amazing.
I mean, my father just told merecently– I wish my father– you know, heremembers everything, but do you have to sort of getit out of him to talk about it.
He was telling me that 1969,after the astronauts landed on the moon, and then theyhad the parade in downtown New York, Frank broughthim to Patsy's.
And it's amazing.
Even to this day, someonewho you might not realize is a big Sinatrafan is P.
And he started coming inbecause he loves Frank.
And with a city of 20,000restaurants, I mean, you have to have the goodfood, the good service, and all those things, of course.
But to have somebodywalk through that door the first time– andhopefully, then you do your job to keepthem coming back.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Absolutely.
So he walked in the doorthe first time when? It was before you were 13and you got him in the door.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Yes, of course.
Well, you know, mygrandfather first met him.
My grandfather had arestaurant for two years before he opened Patsy'sfrom 1942 to 1944 called the Sorrento.
And my grandfather had a littlebit of a reputation in business because he was a manager, hewas a waiter, he was a busboy.
He worked in alldifferent restaurants.
So he had a littlebit of a following.
And there was a mannamed Tommy Dorsey.
He was a bandleader who waspretty responsible for starting off Frank Sinatra.
And he brought Sinatra tomy grandfather back in 1942 and said, hey, Patsy.
I got this skinnykid from Hoboken.
I want you to fattenhim up for me.
And that started agreat relationship.
Even Michael Buble comes innow because he loves Sinatra as well.
That's how he started coming in.
And he didn'treally become famous until after Frank passed away.
One of the things that grandmaand grandpa always taught us, though, was that– and itmay sound a little bit hokey in today's climate–but this was just a bigger version of their home.
This was the foodthey cooked at home.
You had a bigger kitchenand a bigger dining room, but you want to welcomethese people as family.
And, if you go backto what I just said, there's 20,000 restaurants.
You know, I have to goover and thank those people for making the decisionto walk through that door.
You know, it's a big deal to us.
And we never take it lightly.
We never rest on our laurels.
We want to make sure every mealwas as good as the last one that they had because,you know, they can choose not to come back.
That's part of it.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well, I'vecertainly experienced that.
I mean, I think from thebeginning when I've been coming, since the mid-'90s,the second time I came in, they remembered me.
Sal's father, Joe, who stillworks at the front a lot remembered.
He didn't know my name.
He probably calledme kid or something, but he remembered me.
And I think to this day,that's such a theme at Patsy's.
You treat everybody like family.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: We try.
We really do.
And, you know, like you weresaying in the beginning, it's our only location,Patsy's Italian Restaurant.
Other places, Patsy Pizzais not affiliated with us.
It's a long story.
I won't bore youwith the details.
But it's important to us.
The recipes are the same.
The heart of themenu is the same.
Most of the suppliesI buy are the same.
But one of the things that Iwant to thank Michael publicly here is that hewas the first one to go on social media,things like that.
And we have the Facebook andthe Twitter and Instagram.
And of course, mykids know better than I do how to do that stuff.
But it's amazing howmuch you get from that.
I mean, it's also helped usto shift more of our energy and resources a littlebit away from advertising, traditional sense, toadvertising this way and getting customersthis way, which is great.
Back in '94, which wasour 50th anniversary, we came out withthe sauce, which was a product of our customersalways asking us, gee, you have such agreat tomato sauce.
Can you put it in a jar? And up until then, therereally wasn't anything that– I know my father wasn'tgoing to do it on his own.
And we had to twisthis arm to do it.
But this was something thatnow, believe it or not, brings customers to us.
People can buy thisin supermarkets across the country.
And if they bought in Californiaand are heading to New York, they want to try our place.
And that's another way ofgetting to see where we are.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Well, and I would say you're probablynot giving yourself enough credit on social media.
If you go to theFacebook page, you'll see Sal is really a masterat sharing things, which is what we really want.
You want to see agreat plate of pasta.
And you share some amazingdishes on social media.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Recipe Mondayevery Monday on Facebook.
Almost 9 times out of 10,that gets the most hits.
I mean, really, that'swhat it comes down to is you want to have the good food.
You want to havea good experience.
You're not spending yourhard earned dollars not to enjoy yourself, of course.
And being in thetheater district is helpful, right by CarnegieHall, all the major theaters.
It's always been a great area.
It's only gotten betterthroughout the years.
And even the website, we getso many hits on the website.
They want to see a menu.
They want to see whatkind of food you have.
And it's something that, really,we try and keep up to date as much as we can with it.
Like I said, my childrenare better at this as well.
And god willing, they maybe the fourth generation.
My older boy loves business.
He's second year in college now.
And the younger one isa senior in high school, and he wants to cook.
So I said to myfather– I always tease my dad, who's been workinghere for the whole 72 years, by the way.
I said, I think I'm goingto retire before you.
And when I say that,I have to duck.
But it's great.
I mean, I'm lucky to bewith my family as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well, backto Frank Sinatra for a second.
So every year, you havea birthday celebration on Frank's birthday.
You had the 100thcelebration just recently, which became a whole week.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Yes.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Maybetell me a little bit about how that came to be.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Wealways celebrated his birthday, December 12th.
And this year was a special onebecause, as you just mentioned, he turned 100.
So we had Sirius XM, wehad Siriusly Sinatra, the station devoted to him.
They came in and we dida three hour live show.
And Steve Tyrrell was the host.
And we had severalpeople calling in, but the first caller was TinaSinatra, Frank's daughter, which was fun.
And it's just amazing howhe's influenced so many other artists now these days.
I mentioned P.
If you look at some of thecommercials– I believe it's for Ciroc vodka–"Luck Be a Lady" is playing in the background.
So it's just a timeless thing.
And if you could ask for abetter PR person than him, I don't know if you couldfind someone to promote you.
And it's somethingthat if he liked you, you didn't want for anything.
So it was really a lot of fun.
And that celebration,like you said, because so manypeople wanted to come, we did five differentparties because we couldn't fit everyone intothe restaurant on the one day.
But it was wonderful.
And it's just a thingwe're so proud and honored to carry on as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Soreserve now for next year.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Nextyear, put it down.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: The 101st.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Yes.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Now,I would imagine, then, you have a story or twoof Frank Sinatra, above and beyond what we saw inthe video of meeting him.
There was probablysome great moments.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:So many fun things.
I mean, with my experience,when I was 16, 1978, New York Yankees wonthe World Series.
They called up myfather, Joe, and said Billy Martin, the manager,wanted to bring the whole team.
They made a reservationfor 50 people.
Upstairs can be partiesof two, four, six, or so.
It could be separated.
The back room withSinatra– actually, the front of the restaurant.
Sinatra used to sit, wouldbe about 30, 35 people.
The other section,you could do 50.
So when the Yankeesarrived, my father had them set up in thefront part of the room.
And he congratulated them.
They won the World Series.
And Billy Martin, themanager, said to my father, well, why don'twe sit over there? We're supposed tosit back there.
He's pointingbehind the curtain.
And my father wastrying to be diplomatic, but he didn'trealize what he said.
He said, I have that savedfor someone really important.
So Billy Martin was reallyangry with my father.
And obviously, a few minuteslater, we got the signal.
Sinatra would come inthe private entrance.
And Sinatra wascoming up the steps, and Billy Martin wasface to face with him.
And Billy Martin, ofcourse, was the Yankees.
And Sinatra, people don'trealize, was a Dodgers fan.
Yanks just beat the Dodgers.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Oh boy.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: So he wasn'thappy to see Billy Martin.
And he said, what thehell are you doing here? And Billy Martin, for thefirst time in his life, was tongue tied, alittle tongue tied.
And Sinatra walked back behindthe curtain with his party.
And then Billy Martincame over to my father, instead of being angry, he said,I want to meet Frank Sinatra.
My father said,you just met him.
He says, yeah, butI got tongue tied.
So my father asked Frank.
He says, it's OK.
Just bring Billyback, no one else.
I'm a little tired.
I flew in from the West Coast.
My father toldBilly to come back.
And Billy Martin, beingBilly Martin– those of you who knew him– was a hothead.
He stepped up on topof one of the tables and said to thewhole team, come on.
We're going tomeet Frank Sinatra.
And it took him a whole hour.
And he was just verypatient and very nice.
He congratulated everyone.
And Yanks ate their dinnerand Sinatra ate his dinner.
Normally, that would bethe end of the story.
About three hours go by.
Frank gets up, pullsthe curtain back, waves goodbye tothe Yankee team.
Yankee team applaudshim and he leaves.
Billy Martin comesover to my dad.
He said, oh my god.
That was– what a specialnight we just had.
We won the World Series, weate at Patsy's restaurant, and we met Frank Sinatra.
He says, we weren't goingto leave until Frank left.
He says, now that Frank hadleft, he says, we can go.
Can I please have the check? My father hesitatedfor a second.
He says, I'm sorry,Billy, I can't do that.
Frank picked it up for you.
The whole team.
He bought dinnerfor the whole team.
He was– he was a great man.
I mean, you know, if he didn'tlike someone, stay away.
But if he liked you,you were in good shape.
You were in good shape.
But it really is, for me,it's– I'm a very lucky person.
I mean, I get to do what I love.
So you say you neverwork a day in your life when you're doing that.
And I've been full timesince January of '85.
I took televisionfilm production, so I love thispart of it as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Right.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Icouldn't get a job, so my father said, would youlike to learn how to cook? And, you know, that'salso a great part about it is I wasn'tforced into the business, as I wouldn't do formy children as well.
And I really enjoy it.
I'm very lucky.
I meet nice people all the time.
We've become verygood friends– I mean, just a wonderfulbyproduct of being in this type ofbusiness where you're trying to make people happy.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well,and hearing that story, the wonderful thing about,I think, your cookbooks is you integrate thestories throughout both this and the first cookbook,which just adds to the flavor and makes you want toeat the food as you're reading some of the stories.
How did thiscookbook come about? I know the first cookbook didvery well, was a bestseller.
This one is an Italianfamily cookbook, it's called.
How is this differentthan the first one? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Well, thefirst one is more or less almost all restaurant recipes.
This one, I try to integratesome of our family recipes as well, which really are whatwe do there, too, but just some of the ones that haven'talways been on the menu, that we'll make asspecials as well.
And, you know, it was always,for me– even the first book, which is this onehere, and the foreword was written by NancySinatra, Frank's daughter– it was about reallygetting some type of a history of therestaurant written down, because all these greatstories would be lost and all the historyof it would be lost.
I mean, I really admirewhat my grandparents did, as I mentioned.
And a really funnystory is that grandpa– he passed in '86, grandpa Patsy.
And I became a chef in '85.
And last time he was at therestaurant was late '85.
And there was a group ofus waiting– family members waiting for him to come.
He lived in Jersey at thetime and he couldn't drive, so someone drove him in.
And we were so happy grandpawas coming to see us.
We were going tohave dinner together.
We usually eat about3:00 in the afternoon in between lunch and dinner.
And grandpa pulls up, and thewhole family, hey, welcome, grandpa.
And he didn't say a word.
He walked past all of us,walked in the kitchen, went down the steps in therefrigerator, came back up.
And I said, grandpa,what happened? He says, now I couldsay hello to you.
He says, I wantedto check and see if you were still buying thesame veal I told you to buy.
So you know, it was that kind ofa feeling that– and he just– that was his life.
And used to wear thislittle gray jacket.
Everyone thoughthe was a busboy.
And we always say, you know,pop, why don't you dress up? You're the owner and stuff.
He says, no.
People won't ask meto fill their water or bring them the bread then.
They'll be intimidated to askthe owner to do something.
So he was really about service,and we just try and echo that as well.
I mean, again, you know,so many other restaurants that you could go to.
Why go here? MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well, andyou're always out in the room.
I think I've neverbeen there that you didn't come out and talk toeverybody at every table.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: I alwaystry and make sure, go around, everything's OK.
And if everyone'sshown up for work and no one's on vacation or noone's out sick, I can do that.
Because, again, mybulk of my work, which is making the soups, thesauces, the things that take time– cutting upthe veal, the baking.
If I get all that done byabout 3:00, which I usually do, I can go out and mingle,which is my favorite part.
And, you know, incase sometimes there's a party of 20 in the back andthe captain's taking the order, and there may be aparty of two that's waiting a little bit longer.
And you don't want to letthat slip through the cracks that someone's being ignored.
And, you know, again,they're spending their hard-earned money.
You've got to make surethey're happy as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Sure.
So Patsy's ItalianFamily Cookbook.
You know, I also likebeing an aspiring cook.
I would never be a chef.
And I love to make Italian food.
But just some of thenuggets of information.
I think two probablyprimary ingredients in most Italian dishesare olive oil and garlic.
And I think there'ssome interesting things in the cookbook.
Maybe you can share, how doyou pick a good olive oil? SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Well, you know, it's got to have theright– you know, and people always talkabout extra virgin.
And I use that fornon-cooked dishes, like the roast peppers,the mozzarella, the salads, things like that.
Because once youstart cooking it, you don't get thefull flavor of it.
So you could useolive oil to cook.
We use from Umbria is usuallythe best region I found, but there's so many that youcan get that are good now.
Garlic, of course, you haveto make sure it's fresh.
We take it, peel it off,and usually chop it.
And that's the way likea marinara is made.
And we say the holytrinity is garlic, oil, and tomatoes, right? The three best ingredients.
But what's interesting isthat a lot of our sauces, even in the jar,the bestselling one is the marinara,which is the garlic.
The second best isthe tomato basil.
A lot of times, Isee companies, when you go to marketlike a pasta sauce, they'll have threedifferent labels.
They'll have a spaghetti sauce,a marinara, and a tomato basil.
It's the same sauce.
This sauce is distinctive.
The tomato basil is differentseasonings, and it's onions.
There's no garlic.
And people say, wait, wait.
Italian food has to have garlic.
And not necessarily.
Even we make afiletto di pomodoro, which is onion,tomatoes, and prosciutto.
The meat sauce thatwe make is a red sauce because we're from southernItaly, from Naples, and that we use tomato in.
And it's onions–again, no garlic.
I mean, if someone wants it,of course, we can add it.
Most dishes are cooked to order,so we can do that as well.
But it's not always so.
And my father, ashe's gotten older, he can't digestthe garlic as well.
That's what we talkedabout Frank Sinatra.
So if we make a dish, wesaute the whole cloves to get the flavorin the olive oil, and then put your tomatoesin and stuff like that.
The red sauce is thebase of the kitchen.
But the heart ofthe menu is the same as when grandma andgrandpa started.
As I mentioned before, manyof the distributors we use are the same.
And the people we're buyingmozzarella is called Di Palo.
It's downtown on Grand Street.
And we're their longestcustomer for 72 years.
Now, they've been inbusiness since 1920.
And they're also thirdgeneration as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Wow.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: So it'sa level of consistency.
I think one complimentthat I remember that was one of myfavorites of all time is a steady customer who'sbeen coming since before I was a chef, you know, how am Igoing to feel about cooking for someone like that? I said, you know,here's your table.
I hope you enjoyeverything tonight.
Sal, I know what thefood's going to taste like before I come here.
So that was the kind of thingthat really stuck in my head to say, you know, hey,you've got a responsibility to make sure it'sconsistent all the time.
And we don't try to besomething we're not.
It's not a fancy,frou frou restaurant.
But it's a good,stick-to-your-ribs southern Italian red sauce joint.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Red sauce joint.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: AsFrank Sinatra would say.
As Sinatra would say.
And hopefully, that'swhat appeals to people.
And we're lucky so far.
We're doing OK.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: I feel likeI always burn the garlic.
Is there a way– a trick– SAL SCOGNAMILLO: A lot ofpeople heat up the oil first and then put the garlic in,and it will burn right away.
I put it in when the oilis still room temperature.
And then you brown it.
And if you do burnit, it's gone.
You've got to start over.
There's no salvaging that.
Even the oil is goingto have that flavor.
And, of course, it's beingsuch a big flavor in a dish, garlic has a strong flavor,you have to redo it then.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: My mouthis salivating just thinking about garlic cooking, right? SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Garlic and oil, right? MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Arethere particular recipes in this cookbook that arefavorites of yours that sort of come to mind? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Ialways default to pasta.
And, as you see, the coveris spaghetti and meatballs.
And it's a funny storywith the meatballs.
They were off the menufor a little while.
And I kept saying to my dad,it was like the late '80s.
It wasn't as "chic" to havespaghetti and meatballs, I guess.
I don't know.
And I said to my dad, I said,we should put them back on.
Everyone asks forthem all the time.
And we had such abig fight over it.
He was like, no, it'sbeen off the menu.
And I said, look, we have thissection with the specials.
Let's try it for a few days.
If not, we just takethat section off.
And he says, I'm nevergoing to question you again.
We sold like 1,300meatballs the first week.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: I ate 1,200.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Yeah,I was going to say– MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: I lovethe spaghetti and meatballs.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Well,it's a veal meatball.
A lot of people do theveal, beef, and pork, which is what my mother-in-law does.
My mother makes just beef.
But Grandpa Patsy, it was veal.
And I think it was mainlybecause that was what his scrap was when he cleaned.
We used to clean thewhole leg of veal.
And you'd always have scraps.
You make the meatsauce from that.
You chop it up andmake the meatballs.
Now the pieces comealready cleaned for you.
It's much easier.
But it's definitely– what I'venoticed about it is it's more gelatinous.
So it keeps it moister.
When you have theveal meatballs, they feel like they'relighter and they feel moister, you know, more juice to it.
And that's what peopleseem to love about it.
That's FrankieValli's favorite dish.
He talked about that on– Ithink it was the YES Network.
They did an interview with himon the Yankee network about it.
And, you know, Iknow I've got to make sure I make enoughmeatballs when that show airs, which is fun.
It's been great.
Since the first cookbookcame out, it was 2002.
I was able to get on TVshows and things like that.
And again, that'sanother vehicle to let people knowabout your restaurant.
I mean, as much assometimes you may think people know about you, no.
It's hard to keep it relevant.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Well, you certainly have been on TV a lot.
When Tony Danza had hisshow, I feel like you were on almost every week.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: TonyDanza is so much fun.
And you know, I'vebeen so blessed.
I've been on the TodayShow, Martha Stewart.
As I mentioned, we'regoing to be on– I taped a show for Meredith Vieira.
I think Tony Danza wasthe only person I couldn't teach how to cook anything.
It was funny.
He's quite a character.
Actually, I thinkhe got in trouble that he talked about Patsy'sItalian Restaurant so much.
I think he got a letterfrom the Olive Garden because they're acorporate sponsor.
They said, we're spendinghundreds of thousands of dollars to putads for your show, and you're mentioningthis one for free.
But I think that's part of thereason he got fired because he did whatever he wanted.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Oh boy.
Now we know the truth.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: But I'lltell you a funny story.
How I met Tony Danza was whenthe first cookbook came out, as I mentioned, I gota lot of interviews.
And one of the interviews Idid was with Where magazine.
It's in all the hotels, Where.
It shows you whereeverything is.
And they asked me a questionI wasn't asked on an interview before.
It was interesting.
They were lookingat the pictures on the wall at therestaurant and they said, Sal, whose pictureis missing from there? In other words, whichcelebrity has never come that you'd like to meet? And I instantly said,I says, oh, you know, I've always admired Tony Danza.
He's so much fun.
He grew up on Long Island,not far from where I grew up, where I still live.
And somehow, that madeit into the article.
Somehow, a bartender ata hotel he was staying at showed him the article.
And he saw it.
He walks in with thearticle in one hand, and you could picture Tony likethis, screaming and yelling.
I see my name in the paper.
Where's this guy Sal? And it was so muchfun because– and I didn't know whether to hughim or hide under the table.
I says, oh my god, look at this.
And he was flattered thatI wanted to meet him.
It so boggles my mind.
It's so cool.
And we became friends,which is nice.
And, like you said, whenhe had his television show two years in New York, I thinkit was on five or six times.
It was a lot of fun.
It's a lot of fun.
You know, my kidswere younger then.
It was about 9 yearsago, 10 years ago.
We were in Disneyfor a vacation.
And we're waiting on aline for one of the rides.
And some man ranup to me and says, are you Sal fromPatsy's Restaurant? I saw you on theTony Danza show.
Can I have your autograph? I was like, I went overto my wife, and says, you told him to do this, right? He says, no, no.
So, I mean, yeah, wegot a lot of recognition from that one, which wasfun– which was a lot of fun.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Well, another actor, who wrote theforeword, Ben Stiller, how did that connection happen? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Well, youknow, Jerry Stiller, his father, and Anne Meara, whosadly passed last year, were very closewith Frank Sinatra.
But the way theyfirst came in was they did the Ed Sullivan Show.
Still and Mearawas a comedy team.
The younger ones amongstus that don't know, that's Ben Stiller's parents.
And they did theEd Sullivan Show, which was taped withDavid Letterman, where Stephen Colbert is now.
To get on the Ed SullivanShow in those days was like– that wasthe gold standard.
And to celebrate, we wanted togo to a real, white tablecloth restaurant.
That's the first time.
And that was in theearly '60s that they came to our restaurant.
And they've beencoming ever since.
And they brought their children.
I mean, Ben Stillerwrote a foreword that it makes me crywhen I look at it.
I mean, just to condenseit real quickly, basically, what he says is that heremembers my grandfather.
And he was a little boy.
And he'd come withhis sister Amy.
And he'd say, what canI make for you tonight? You know, please sit down.
What can I make for you tonight? And then he recounts whenmy father became the chef.
And my father wouldsay the same thing.
What can I make for you tonight? And when I became a chef.
And then he ends theforeword with saying, I can't wait for Sal's sonPeter to come and be the chef and ask me, what can Imake for you tonight? I mean, it's sooverwhelming to me that these peoplehave such a loyalty, and not just celebrities.
The customers,generations of customers.
And people come in, and if theyhad their children with them, I said, oh, you made morecustomers for us now.
So it's really–I can't get over how lucky we are that peopleare so fiercely loyal to us as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Sure.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:It's a big deal.
And in New York, ifyou're open five years, that's like a big deal.
72 years, thank god.
But as long aspeople want it, we'll be happy to keepserving as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well,we're going to open it up for questions in a minute.
But you know, 72years, what's next? We're going to haveto start planning for the 100thanniversary, right? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Godwilling, we'll be here.
And yeah, like I said, mychildren, I won't force them.
They're both interested.
Joseph, the older one,likes the business aspect, and Peter likes thecooking aspect of it.
And god willing, ifthey want to come in, we're going to try andcontinue to do this.
I mean, the way we havebranched out, as we mentioned, the sauce and the cookbooksand things like that.
You know, god willing,who knows if it's in the future, other places.
But you never know whatcould happen with that.
It's always important to usthat the quality stays the same.
I mean, even when we putthis sauce in the jar, we had this done byco-packers, you know, companies that do this for you.
And one of the things we alwaysgot when we went to co-packers is, we're already makingan Italian spaghetti sauce.
Just give us your label.
We'll slap it on there.
And you're kind of missingthe point, you know.
We want our sauce in the jar.
So that was whatwas important to us.
That was the hardest thingto convince my dad to do.
We had to twist his arm.
He says, if it's notgood, it's not coming out.
And, you know, he's right.
This is why youare where you are.
Don't lower your standards.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: And I thinkit's an indication that you make quality food, and you'vealso been open and curious to new things.
And you've been innovative, fromthe sauces to the cookbooks.
You had, I think, theGoogle Maps folks came in.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: That's right.
The Google Maps did aninside of our restaurant.
And I'm understanding that'sa big deal, which I was really excited about.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Well, it's nice because if you don't have achance to go to the restaurant, you can go online, and you cango in the restaurant and see.
I don't know if it takes youinto the Sinatra room upstairs.
I don't remember.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:I don't remember if they did that or not.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: You have togo and experience that live.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Butthat's another way to get another generationthat's interested.
And that's why this socialmedia stuff is relevant, too.
It really makesa big difference.
I think a lot ofpeople tell me– and again, I'm not so goodat this– but they say, we do a Google search, midtown,family-owned, this, that.
And we pop up.
I mean, how big is that? I mean, if you'relooking for something.
Years ago– it'sstill word of mouth, but years ago, you reliedon a friend, or a concierge at a hotel, orsomething like that.
Now everyone has the phone orthe device to check and see.
And we've got greatreviews online as well, which is helpful.
And that's, again, firsttime to get them in.
And then hopefully, they comeback and tell their friends as well.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: And thosepictures you post of the food don't hurt either.
They certainly help.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: It's tempting.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Dowe have any questions? Anybody want to step upto the mic, feel free.
While you're moving overthere, I'll ask you, what is your favoritething to eat? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: I'm alwaysgoing to default to pasta.
And I think therigatoni sorrentino, which is sort ofsimilar to a baked ziti, but it's with ricotta,mozzarella, and tomato basil sauce and Parmesancheese on top.
And if I'm in the moodfor a garlicky pasta, I love the clam sauce–very simple, garlic and oil, the fresh clams,a little clam water, touch of oregano,fresh basil, no salt because it's salty already.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Sure.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Simplestuff, but that's what I'll always default to.
And that's why I'mnever going to be thin.
But don't trust athin chef, right? MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: That's right.
AUDIENCE: Hey, Sal.
I met you in your restaurantI think half a year ago when a lot of us came in there.
It's very cool to see you again.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Thank you.
AUDIENCE: That'swhy I came out here.
I think somebody waslike inviting you here.
He said, I wantto come to Google.
So it's good to see that happen.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: I'm so honored.
AUDIENCE: So whatare some of the most popular off menu dishes thatpeople somehow know to order? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Oh yeah.
It's a good question.
And quite often, if they call meup and I have the ingredients, I'll make it.
If not, give me aday or two to get it.
And one is braciole, whichis either pork or beef.
And it's a flank.
And you cut up the pork or thebeef and you beat it down flat.
It's stuffed withchopped beef or pork, depending on which one, raisins,pine nuts, garlic, and cheese.
We roll it up,braise it in the oil, and it slow cooks in the saucefor about 2 and 1/2, three hours.
That's why we always tellyou to order it before.
Another one would be lasagna.
Lasagna, classicsouthern Italian dish.
We make four layers– meatballs,sausage, cheese, tomato sauce.
And it's a popular dishas well people ask for.
The things that areon the menu that you don't see in otherplaces that are popular are tripe, which is one ofthe few things I don't eat.
It's honeycombed tripe.
It's the intestine ofthe stomach of the cow.
But it's really a great sauce.
It's onions, peas,and prosciutto.
And it's stewed with tomatosauce and white wine, very popular.
When we make thefiletto di pomodoro, people like that, totake it to [INAUDIBLE].
So it starts off withonions, prosciutto, tomatoes.
And [INAUDIBLE], weadd the pancetta, which is Italian bacon.
And I put a little bitof regular American bacon in there.
So you can make derivativesof different dishes.
And again, if I havethe ingredients, I'm more than happy to do it.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:There's also a dish you make– I don't think it'son the menu– with the melon.
You made that for me.
It's a great summer pasta.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Prosciutto and melon sauce.
Doesn't sound that good.
And it was in the first book.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:It's fantastic.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Andit's a little different.
But we had a party that hadcanceled at the last minute.
And I had madesome melon wrapped with prosciutto with thetoothpicks to pass around.
And I says, oh no.
What am I going to do? This is all cut up already.
So we always make dinnerfor the employees.
So I just took it.
I sauteed some onions,some tomato sauce, a little touch of fresh basil.
I put it over fresh linguine.
Everyone went crazy for it.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:It's really good.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Sweet and salty.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: A strangecombo, but it's really good.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: It worked good.
Thank you for remindingme about that.
I haven't made that for a while.
But it's always a pleasure.
I mean, that's forus, we can do it.
You know, it's funny howso many places you go to, and you try andsubstitute something, and they don't wantto know from beans.
They don't want to know.
I have a friend of mine that'sbeen coming there probably a little bit longer than you.
And I won't mention the name,but he went to a steakhouse with his wife and two othercouples, with six people.
And you know, theyspent a good $1,200.
And at the end of themeal, the waitress was taking the orderfor dessert and he says, I'd just like tohave some ice cream.
And she says, I'm sorry,sir, we don't have ice cream.
And he said, well, you justmentioned one of the desserts was pie a la mode, you know, theapple pie with the vanilla ice cream on top.
She says, yeah, butwe can't separate it.
So he said, I'll payfor the whole thing.
It doesn't matter.
You know, he's a wealthy man.
It doesn't matter.
She says, I'm sorry,we can't do that, sir.
And I think that's what– MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:I think for $1,200, I would have gone to the storeand bought ice cream, right? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Well, hewas embarrassed because he was with two other couples.
But the thing is I thinkthat's what takes– and a lot of people tellus to do Open Table, which I think we eventually will do.
But it takes the humanelement out of it.
Open Table's going totell you Saturday night, there is no reservation.
But if you call me up the lastminute, and it's a party of two and it's not a party of 10, I'mgoing to say yes, of course.
I mean, we try and do that.
We always try to save atable or two for regulars that walk in and don't call.
I mean, we alwaysask everyone to call.
It's better for the table towait for you than the other way around.
And the last thingyou want to do– and this is something that, ifI could change in this business, I would.
It gets me crazywhen people get angry when you don't have a table.
And I say, do you really thinkI don't want your business? I mean, I want to take care ofyou, but where can I put you? There's no perfectsolution to it.
But it's interesting whena computer would tell you that there's no table,but somehow, you know, there's going to be a noshow on a Saturday night, something like that.
So that's a humanelement, and that's where we would givethem just the ice cream.
It would be no problem.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: We havea question over here.
AUDIENCE: Hi, Sal.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Hi.
AUDIENCE: Thanksfor coming over.
I just ate, and I'm still like– SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Oh, thank you.
Thank you so much.
AUDIENCE: I would like your viewon– there's sort of a trend nowadays aboutmodernist cuisine.
We often hear aboutMassimo Bottura.
We heard of thisItalian chef who does a lot of thingsabout molecular food.
And it seems like people aremore and more into molecular, modernist, thingsthat go a little bit beyond traditional cuisine.
And from what I hear,it sounds like you're more passionate about bringingall the traditions all together and carry on this trend.
So I'd like to getyour vision on that, on how you see this comingover for your restaurant, maybe in terms of cuisineoverall in New York or in the world.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: That'sa great question.
You know, it's funnyis that we always say that we don't try andbe something we're not, whether it's in life or interms of what our restaurant is.
You know, if every placeis opening and serving Tuscan food, we're not going tochange the menu to suit that.
I mean, like I said, we'llmake the different dishes that people ask for, but wetry and do the one thing, and the one thing just right.
While on the otherhand, I think it's wonderful to have otherthings and new ideas.
And I'm always open to them,as long as they fit into it.
And I don't know if it's justour particular customers, something as simple ifwe change the bread, like I try to get somebread with the olives, the olive loaves in there, andsome rosemary, steady customer, where's my bread? Where's my regular bread? So you've got someonecoming in 25, 30 years, you don't want to getthem upset about it.
And I tell you, the foodthat I looked here today, I'm just overwhelmed how muchfood you have in this thing.
I think, as much asI'm already overweight, I think I'd be another 100pounds if I worked here.
But it's wonderful.
It's a great idea tokeep those things going.
And different combinationsare all wonderful.
My younger son is so good.
He loves that show, Chopped.
And he could lookat those ingredients and just figure somethingout, where I don't know.
It just doesn'twork with my brain.
But he can come up withsomething really right away.
AUDIENCE: Thank you.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Thank you.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: I wantedto maybe get one more Sinatra story out of you,because I think there's a moment where your dadwas very sensitive to an artist or performer who was kind ofdown on his luck at the time.
And something happened thatI think is a great story.
So maybe you could share that.
I think you know whichone I'm talking about.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Thiswas before I was born.
It was the early '50s.
And a lot of people don'trealize Frank Sinatra was down on his luck.
I mean, he wasbasically finished.
The industry thoughthe was finished.
He had lost his voice.
He had lost the record contract.
Ava Gardner justbroke up with him.
That was his love of his life.
And he would come to therestaurant by himself.
And he'd say to my grandfather,Patsy, sit with me.
I don't want to eat by myself.
I don't want to be here.
He'd point to the othercustomers and say, these people are all myfair weather friends.
They only come when the sun isshining, when I'm doing good.
These are the people thatwould want to buy me a drink or pay for my dinner.
Now they ignore me.
And my grandfather alwaysused to reassure him and say, Frank, you know, you'llmake a comeback someday.
And this was right before"From Here to Eternity," which was his comeback.
The next day was Thanksgiving.
And to this day, we're stillclosed on Thanksgiving.
It's one of the fewholidays we're closed.
And Frank Sinatra said to mygrandfather Patsy, he says, I want to come in tomorrow.
Book me a table for one.
My grandfather had signsup all over the place that they're closedthe next day, but he didn't havethe heart to tell Frank Sinatra they were closed.
And he would invite himover to his house, which he had been a million times.
And he says, OK,Frank, no problem.
He took the signs down.
He told all the waiters.
He says, if it's possible,can you come in tomorrow? And there wasmoaning and groaning.
He said, bring your family.
It's for Frank Sinatra.
He's coming in.
I don't want him tobe here by himself.
And they did.
And the next day, he walked in.
And you know, it's 3o'clock in the afternoon.
Could you picturethis in the '50s? Italian restaurant.
And he says to mygrandfather, hey, Patsy, it's a little quiet today.
No one in the place.
I mean, think about it.
And he ate dinner.
And he found out later in lifethat my grandfather opened just for him, and he never forgot it.
He never forgot it.
He was very, veryloyal about that.
And he did make his comebackwhen he did "From Here to Eternity," and henever went back down.
It was right to the moon.
All good stuff.
All good stuff.
Very, very amazing.
And these are the ones thatmy father can remember.
So got to get him to sit downone day with my video camera and take some morestories from him.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Well, Sal,thank you for sharing with us.
The cookbook is amazing,Patsy's Italian Family Cookbook.
I have both of them, of course.
And I encourage you togo to Patsy's anytime.
Now you know you cango at the last minute and ask for Sal, right? SAL SCOGNAMILLO: You're in.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: And there'smany, many, many, many, many, many more stories, from Frank,to Ben Stiller and beyond, and Buble.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: What's reallynice, though, about– we didn't get into too muchabout the cookbooks– is that, especially this one'sbeen out longer, the first one.
Is that people use them.
They say to me, this book isall dirty with sauce stains on it and stuff.
I'm using it.
And it's ingredients I knowand recipes I can make.
And I tell people,don't be intimidated.
I mean, you know, I made thelasagna on Martha Stewart, as I mentioned to you.
And it's not difficult.
It's just time consuming.
You can do it.
It's not crazy ingredients.
It's stuff you probablyalready have in your cabinet.
And that's why I thinkit's been a success.
And you know, it's really fun.
It's really fun.
I'm very lucky.
Every day, I wake up andcan't believe how lucky I am.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN:Well, thank you.
And I know you're goingto sign some books.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Oh, I'd love to.
I'd love to.
That would be great.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: Obviously,if you haven't already, check out Patsy'son their website, and on Facebook andTwitter and Instagram.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO: Allthose good things.
MICHAEL KAUFFMAN: All the above.
Sal, thank you.
SAL SCOGNAMILLO:Thank you very much.