Father-Daughter Restaurateurs Tony and Marisa May Join the Movement
On Monday May 13, diners at contemporary Italian restaurant SD26 in Manhattan were greeted with a special new menu. Atop a list of delicious sounding dishes crafted by executive chef Matteo Bergamini — and just below the sleek red SD26 logo — was the familiar green and gold Meatless Monday emblem, indicating the fantastic news that SD26 has gone Meatless Monday.
Owned by father-daughter duo Tony and Marisa May (pictured right, center, with Meatless Monday founder Sid Lerner and The Monday Campaigns president Peggy Neu), SD26 is one of Manhattan’s premier eateries. A restaurant industry legend, Tony May made his name as manager and then owner of New York’s famed Rainbow Room as well as the equally respected New York eatery San Domenico. Since 2009 he and daughter Marisa have tempted diners with exciting modern Italian cuisine at the sleek SD26.
By going Meatless Monday, the May’s have added an element of health consciousness to their legendary hospitality. And chef Matteo (pictured below) is showing that exquisitely prepared Italian and Mediterranean food is just as wonderful without meat.
We talked with Marisa May just before SD26’s Meatless Monday launch to get some insight into why they decided to participate and their plans for the future:
Q: What motivated you to do Meatless Mondays at SD26?
A: We believe it’s an excellent idea whose time has come. There is so much delicious food available the choice can be overwhelming. Why not “dial it in” a little bit, use a little focus and provide delicious ideas that might not be obvious, or the first choice to the person going out to dinner. Especially since Italian cuisine has such a rich variety of meatless dishes from all over that sun-kissed Mediterranean peninsula.
Q: Will you offer Meatless Monday dishes as an option for Lunch and Dinner?
A: Absolutely. We will feature dishes all day long. In the bar/lounge and in the main dining room.
Q: How will you promote Meatless Monday to diners?
A: We have a terrific fan base that we access via e-mail. We also have a big following via Facebook and other social media, such as Twitter and Instagram. In house, there is always info available in print form, on menus and handouts, for guests throughout the week. Every Monday, the Meatless Monday Menu will have a special page in the Menu Presenter. We really want the diner to focus on this menu!
Q: What sort of twist will SD26 put on Meatless Monday?
A: Well, without sounding too egotistical, the “twist” will be that SD26 and Chef Matteo Bergamini will be offering dishes to be enjoyed that respect the traditions of Italian cooking in a contemporary style all the while paying homage to the efforts of the Meatless Monday campaign.
A: This will change, certainly, on a weekly basis. Right now we have the additional advantage/assistance of Mother Nature now that spring has finally arrived.
Expect dishes like our traditional soup called Vignarola. This is a classic Roman dish using all sorts of fresh spring vegetables, the first of the season, such as baby artichokes, asparagus, English peas, all cooked in a vegetable broth flavored with fresh herbs and white wine and finished with shavings of young Pecorino Romano cheese. Spaghetti alla Chitarra is a dish of handmade pasta rolled over a set of wires (the guitar!) to make a type of square cut spaghetti. Substantial and al dente served with a simple sauce of lightly cooked tomatoes and fresh basil.
This is Italian food at its best: straightforward, simple and delicious. We also feature a classic plate of grilled vegetables, (including radicchio, fennel, endive, red and yellow peppers served with a dipping sauce made with extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic, capers and marjoram).
The Meatless Monday team was happy to join SD26 at its Meatless Monday kickoff. To see photos of the restaurant in action, and some of its special Monday dishes, visit our Facebook page.
SD26 has done an amazing job implementing Meatless Monday. Interested in bringing Meatless Monday to your restaurant? Download our Restaurant Kit to learn how to get started. And if you’re a customer who’d like your favorite restaurant to join the Meatless Monday campaign, check out our Community Kit for tips and ideas.