Andy D’Amico, executive chef for Tour de France restaurants Marseille, Nice Matin, Nizza, and 5 Napkin Burger has been captivating New York diners with his sunny Mediterranean cuisine for over two decades. Like many chefs D’Amico traces his love of cooking to his big Italian family and the food of his childhood.
A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, D’Amico cut his cooking chops at such prestigious hotels as The Parker House in Boston and The Berkshire Place in New York before landing the pivotal position as sous chef at the Santo Family’s Sign of the Dove, one of New York’s prettiest and most romantic restaurants in 1982. It was there that he developed his love of the honest Mediterranean flavors so prevalent in Southern French and Northern Italian cuisine that would become the D’Amico signature. D’Amico thrived at Sign of the Dove eventually being promoted to Executive Chef of the Santo Family Group. Along the way, D’Amico enjoyed two 3-star New York Times reviews by Brian Miller in 1988 and again in 1994 exalting his use of the ingredients and flavors of Europe, Asia and the Middle East in his dishes.
D’Amico’s career continued on its upward trajectory when Robert Guarino, who at the time was General Manager at Tour de France’s restaurant Marseille introduced him to Simon Oren. Making the move to Tour de France, D’Amico partnered with Oren to open a restaurant that showcased his signature style. Nice Matin which he opened in 2003 as Executive Chef / Partner featured an inventive menu of classic dishes and new recipes inspired by a fact-finding trip he took to the South of France with Oren. Nice Matin was an instant critical success. D’Amico received 2 stars from The New York Times and Crain’s New York, and 2 1/2 stars from The Daily News and New York Post. In November 2003, New York Magazine food editor Gillian Duffy named him one of the “Best Chefs of 2003.”
Today D’Amico oversees the kitchens and menu development at his restaurants Nice Matin, Marseille, Nizza and 5 Napkin Burger. Along with Simon Oren & Robert Guarino he is also expanding the 5 Napkin Burger concept nationwide with locations in Boston, Miami and Atlanta.
D’Amico says his ultimate goal for all his restaurants is to maintain the integrity of the food and offer patrons an honest dining experience with the best tasting food possible. “My greatest food memory is from my trip to Emilia Romana in Italy where I experienced an amazing meal cooked by three generations of Italian women in a little farm house,” says D’Amico. “I want to impart that feeling in all my restaurants whether it’s Marseillaise cuisine at Marseille, Ligurian cuisine at Nizza or even American cuisine with burgers at 5 Napkin Burger”