Hans Pauli started Sant Ambroeus, his New York pasticceria and cafe in 1983 serving, “the luxuries of Italy, in an understated, Giorgio Armani kind of way,” Amanda Hesser wrote in The New York Times in the late 90s.
Partners Dimitri Pauli and Gherardo Guarducci have announced that Pauli, Dimitri’s father and the founder of Sant Ambroeus, has died.
“Mr. Pauli’s passion and work-ethic will be remembered not only within the fabric of Sant Ambroeus but by the many people who have come to know and love him throughout the years,” reads the group’s release. “ He will be deeply missed.”
When the original location closed in 2001, the neighborhood mourned.
It was habit-forming from the get-go, sticky with location and the terrific cappuccino served Italian style at the bar.
''We knew right after the World Trade Center -- they handed out these little fliers announcing the place had been bought by Fauchon -- and someone said, 'I'm going to lower my flag to half-mast again,' '' George Wachter, vice chairman of Sotheby's, said. ''You know, I had lunch three times a week there for 10 years. And dinner half as many times. But the coffee was the thing. There were always 25 people that you knew standing at that bar.''
They called Sant Ambroeus the coffin, for its padded and swagged back room. They chafed under its restrictions -- you couldn't be seated before 11:45 each morning, for instance, or take its cappuccino out of the restaurant, or move it from bar to dining room. They complained about its unsmiling waiters and its prices, exorbitant before it was the fashion to be. They championed its cappuccino, the best in New York they said, and its near-perfect Milanese cuisine.
The brand was revived with the opening of the Greenwich Village location in 2003. “Sant Ambroeus is in its element,” wrote Marian Burros, shortly after the reopening. It attracts “X-ray thin women (and men) who prefer to eat in stylish surroundings with like-minded diners.”
Today, Sant Ambroeus has three spots in Manhattan, one in the Hamptons, and another in Palm Beach. The restaurant group, SA Hospitality, co-helmed by his son, is also running coffee bars in the Regency hotel and Sotheby's, with a third poised to open at 1136 Third Ave. that’s running behind its summer opening. SA Hospitality is also the group behind Casa Lever and Felice restaurants and wine bars.
The pasticceria has been a place to go for cookies, making “15 to 18 varieties every day, which adds up to about 4,000 to 5,000 cookies a day,” said Chris Hereghty, the executive pastry chef in 2013. During the holidays, the shops make an additional 1000 pounds of cookies a day.
“Timeless elegance!”reads the shop’s Facebook update this afternoon. “Remembering a legend!”