Our Family History
To tell you about our restaurant, I must also tell you about my family, for they are one and the same.
My father fled communist Albania as a boy. In Yugoslavia, he was accused of being a spy and imprisoned. Sentenced to death, he escaped twice, finally reaching a refugee camp in Italy. There, through the Geneva Convention, he received a visa allowing him to come to the United States.
He arrived in New York City on Christmas Day, 1964. He started as a dishwasher, observed and learned the restaurant business, and eventually worked his way up to night manager at several restaurants.
He studied at New York University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in business administration. As supervisor and director at Restaurant Associates, from 1969 to 1972, he was in charge of some very well-known restaurants.
Through his work with Restaurant Associates, he met and worked with Chef Joe Baum, the innovative restaurateur who created restaurants like the Four Seasons, a restored Rainbow Room, the Hawaiian Room, the Forum of the Twelve Caesars, Tavern on the Green, La Fonda Del Sol, Zum-Zum, Quo Vadis, the Trattoria, the Brasserie, and Windows on the World. This last was on the top (107th) floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
As Business Advisor with Restaurant Associates, he worked at Walt Disney World in Orlando from 1973 to 1974. There, he hosted a banquet for then-president Richard M. Nixon, and for the Motown singing group, The Supremes.
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