Since opening in 1988, San Domenico has operated as a posh Italian restaurant on Central Park South, favored by Uptown society and power players. But when the rent was quadrupled this fall, owners and father-daughter team Tony and Marisa May were forced to move the eatery to a more affordable spot on 26th Street (Marea took over the Central Park space). In the process they decided to revamp their business to cater to a younger and more downtown crowd. "We're really rocking the image," says Marisa. "It's very sexy, very contemporary, very sensual."
Interior designer Massimo Vignelli decorated the two-story space, which features red leather seating, black walls and fiber-optic lights on the ceiling that twinkle like stars. There's also an electronic wine list. It's a far cry from the old-school atmosphere the restaurant's loyal clientele are used to. Nevertheless, Marisa remains hopeful that, in addition to attracting new customers, they'll hold on to those who've kept them in business this long. "I think they'll come down out of curiosity," she said.
19 East 26th Street