In February of 2019, Paul & Jimmy's Ristorante celebrated 69 years of serving our family's traditional Italian cuisine in New York City. It's a rare accomplishment in the restaurant business for which we are very proud. But to fully tell the story of Paul and Jimmy's, we must share the story of the Azzollini family.
On June 13, 1955, my parents and I boarded a cruise ship in our hometown of Molfetta, Italy and embarked for New York City for a new life in America. It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship between New York City and my family.
Shortly after our arrival, my father became a waiter at Paul & Jimmy's Ristorante of Gramercy Park. My father made the decision to purchase the restaurant, and the Paul & Jimmy's Azzollini family legacy began.
I grew up dreaming that one day I would become the Chef and ultimately the owner of Paul & Jimmy's. It was a time of excitement and learning, but something was missing. A great life is like great food, you have to have the right ingredients. In 1976, I found the perfect recipe for happiness when I married my beautiful wife, Linda. With her love, support and hard work, Paul & Jimmy's grew into a New York City favorite. As our business grew, so did our family with our amazing children Merisa, Lauren and Greg.
"Generations of Great Taste" is more than an advertising line. It's a way of life. Today, I'm proud to say the Azzollini Family still runs every aspect of the restaurant.` My son Greg is our Executive Chef and the third generation to continue the legacy. Greg has brought a new dimension to the Paul & Jimmy's culinary experience by adding contemporary Italian flare to our menu, alongside our generations-old family recipes my parents brought to America. When you come to our restaurant, we believe our food and atmosphere will make you feel like part of the family, a family that for over three generations has been proud to serve New Yorkers and the world.
Over the years, Paul &Jimmy's has been a destination for New York's Governors, Mayors and celebrities from musicians to actors to athletes. We have also served some of the most infamous New York families. When you come in, be sure to ask us to share some of our many stories.
Speaking of sharing, for many years we have been asked, "Can I buy your delicious sauces?" We are excited to announce that we have launched "Paul & Jimmy’s Ristorante Sauces". So now, whether you’re a regular or an occasional out-of-town guest, the taste you thought you could only get in Manhattan will now be available nationwide.
My wife Linda and I and the entire Azzollini family look forward to sharing the Paul & Jimmy’s experience with you.
Paul & Jimmy's Ristorante has been at the center of my life since I was born. But along the way, I experienced many exciting and educational culinary detours that would eventually lead me back to the restaurant and the job I always wanted: Executive Chef of Paul & Jimmy's.
As a child, visiting my grandfather Cosmo and my father Louis at the restaurant was exciting. The food. The people. The action. Even then I knew it was a very special place. During my teenage years, I worked as a busboy and eventually worked my way up to a waiter. While there, I learned the business from the ground up and became inspired to become a chef. It is decision I have never regretted.
I couldn't have had a better teacher, mentor or role model than my father. He instilled in me the love of food, family and work. You have to love all three to really make it in this business. My father enjoyed having me in the kitchen, teaching me the basics of cooking and all of our family recipes. But as I found out, school wasn't over yet.
After college, I began my formal culinary studies at the Institute of Culinary Education. It was an amazing experience of hard work and discipline which only grew my passion. It was in this period that I worked the line at Mario Batali’s Lupa Osteria in Manhattan. But then I realized that to truly understand the culture I had to go to Italy and experience it first hand. So I packed my bags and traveled to Tuscany where I had the opportunity to focus my attention on the finer points of traditional Italian cuisine at Ristorante Tonino.
It was the culmination of these experiences that led me to take the helm as Executive Chef at Paul & Jimmy's Ristorante.
For over 65 years, the Azzollini family has taken pride in making their customers feel like they are part of our family. It is my honor to continue that family mission by delivering the finest cuisine and dining experience. When you visit Paul & Jimmy's, please ask for me so I can have the opportunity to talk with you and share some of our family's wonderful stories.