We continue our Families in the Industry series with the father-daughter duo of Tony and Marisa May, proprietors of SD26 in New York City. Both are like family to us and we have spent many evenings savoring delicious meals and decadent white truffle dishes at both SD26 and the Mays’ prior restaurant, San Domenico.
Tony May is one of the nation’s most respected restaurateurs and the ambassador for authentic Italian food. His knowledge about Italian cooking is encyclopedic, and his enthusiasm is translated into every dish at SD26 and in his book, “Italian Cuisine: Basic Cooking Techniques.” Tony’s commitment to uphold the quality of true Italian cooking led him to establishGruppo Ristoratori Italiani (GRI), an organization of leading Italian restaurants which offers scholarships to culinary students to study in Italy.
His restaurant track record reads like a history of New York fine dining: General Manager then Owner of the Rainbow Room (1968-1986), Owner of critically acclaimed Palio, Owner of San Domenico, which flourished on Central Park South for 20 years. SD26, which opened five years ago just north of Madison Square Park, represents a contemporary flavor and feel and the new generation of authenticallyMay.
And that new generation is daughter, Marisa, who brings a sparkling flair to SD26 and is a refreshing, sophisticated image for Italian- American women entrepreneurs. Marisa has worked side by side with her father since graduating from New York University. Marisa energetically works the dining room and frequently appears at charity events and on television, including: NBC Today, The Couch, LX TV and Food Network. “Esquire Magazine” named Marisa “the Restaurateur We Love” in its “Women We Love” issue. A member of Les Dames d’Escoffier, Marisa actively supports many charities including C-CAP (Careers in the Culinary Arts Program), which honored Tony in 2013, Citymeals-on-Wheels and Susan G. Komen NY.
SD26 continues to thrive with critical acclaim receiving four stars from “Forbes” and named one of Zagat’s “2014 Top 50 Restaurants.”