This month's Vanity Fair offers an extensive profile on the Cipriani family; how they started the empire; their string of businesses and dealings (including a failed plan for a Cipriani-land on Pier 57), litany of legal troubles, and alleged ties to the mob; and why they're hiding out overseas. Giuseppe and his father Arrigo haven't been in the US to run their collection of restaurants and event spaces since they plead guilty to tax evasion, leading the press to believe they're on the lam. Not the case, says Giuseppe: “I can go back. I will go back...Usually, when you plead to something, it means that you make a deal. So we made a deal. And that’s why I will go back to New York.”
But more interesting than the family's legal and financial woes, perhaps, is the look back on their history. A favorite excerpt, and a reminder to the youngins in the crowd that El Chod wasn't the first restaurateur to lash out at a critic, involves the Cips, and critics Bryan Miller and Gael Greene:
A year later, when Miller arrived at lunch to review Bellini, Giuseppe stopped him from ordering, saying, “The cook will not cook for you.” After returning in a disguise, Miller eventually wrote that Bellini had “all the charm of a family restaurant in a shopping mall,” with baked noodles that were “a dead ringer for a TV dinner.” Arrigo fired back with an ad charging that the newspaper’s reviews were directed by a “snobbish congregation formed by four or five counselors, some of whom are even multi-star restaurant owners.” A decade later, when New York magazine’s Gael Greene panned another Cipriani restaurant, Arrigo wrote a letter to the editor, alluding to Greene’s work as a sex novelist: “I think it is possible that she forgot to remove the condom from her tongue before tasting the food.”Now that is class. The full article is worth a read when there's a chunk of time to kill.
· The Trouble with Harry's [Vanity Fair]
· All Ciprianis Coverage [~ENY~]