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November 1, 2000

Sinful and Delicious: The critics are raving about three Nasdaq traders' version ofbest execution

By Sanford Wexler

Also in this article

  • Sinful and Delicious: The critics are raving about three Nasdaq traders' version ofbest execution
  • Page 2

A Nasdaq trading trio has their own version of best execution in the culinary world.

The name is Peccavi, a Latin word used to describe their "sinfully" delicious Italian-Mediterranean bistro in New York City's Murray Hill area.

Now Charles Manza, 49, a Nasdaq market maker at Merrill Lynch, and two Nasdaq sales traders, Robert Donato, 58, of NDB Capital Markets, and Stella Santaromita, 36, of Knight Securities, hope they have the recipe to entice more traders to dine with them.

The story of Peccavi began while Manza was on vacation in Italy. The restaurant's Brooklyn-born chef, Joseph Savino, who is a family friend of Manza's, was on a visit in the same parts. Savino mentioned to him how he wanted to open a restaurant in New York City.

"It sounded like a fun thing to do," Manza recalled. So he contacted two other traders and friends, Donato and Santaromita. Yes, both were eager to help finance the new restaurant. Savino also became a co-owner. Another investor was Kana Brinckerhoff, formerly a general manager at Trattoria Acqua, in La Jolla, Calif., who is now in charge at Peccavi. (Savino himself was once the executive chef at the fancy five-star eatery.) "After going out for 37 years at many different restaurants," Donato said, "I realized I could open a restaurant."

Not only that, but Santaromita believes the bistro has the best culinary execution too. "Joseph Savino is the oxygen and we [other co-owners] are the breath of fresh air," she said.

Santaromita's colleagues at Knight must think so too. "My many friends at Knight continually support us by coming here night after night."

The restaurant, which opened in May, has received rave reviews from several magazines and newspapers, including The New York Daily News, The New York Times, New York, Time Out, and Crain's New York Business. "There's something about Peccavi that turns first-time visitors into regulars," wrote the no-

ted restaurant reviewer, Bob Lappe, in Crain's. "Perhaps it's the cozy warmth and romantic aura of the place, the cordial greeting and real concern that you enjoy yourself, the smooth teamwork of the staff and their pride in the food and beverages they serve."

Origin of Name

The restaurant's name, Peccavi, was coined by Savino. When Savino was a young fellow he remembers his mother exclaiming, "I have sinned," after eating something she thought was "sinfully" delicious. Years later, she found the Latin word, Peccavi. She turned to her son and said, "Wouldn't Peccavi be a great name for a restaurant?" The name stuck with Savino.

The restaurant is located on a quiet residential street in the heart of Murray Hill (134 East 26th Street). "We felt this area was up and coming," Manza said. "Credit Suisse First Boston is close by and so are many other firms." Many neighborhood people are regular patrons, he added, including some of the doctors from the nearby NYU Medical Center.

Peccavi says it has been well received by the Street. "The whole Street knows we are here," Manza boasted.