Co-owner & Manager
Michael Badr is a familiar face here at Sarti, so much so, he is very much a part of who we are. He has been here, “Pretty much from day one,” he says, “and we’ve just finished our eleventh Christmas.”
Michael didn’t start out as manager and co-owner, but as a waiter back in the restaurant’s early days. He’d been seeking work at Il Bacaro but Joe Mammone, co-owner of Il Bacaro and now Michael’s business partner at Sarti, told Michael about the plans to open Sarti and encouraged him to work here.
Michael and Joe hadn’t met before but, Michael’s previous boss had worked with Joe at Cafe e Cucina for many years and he suggested that if Michael wanted to take his career to the next level he should, “go work for Joe,” Michael says, “And we hit it off. I worked as a waiter here for about a year and a half and I had other managers but I felt there could be something more for the restaurant. I was 23 or 24 and I told Joe that I didn’t have restaurant experience at that level in management, but asked him to give me a go and he did.”
It was daunting at first, “as a young guy, it was a challenge, but I always had the drive to do my own thing, to be apart of something.”
And he truly is a part of Sarti and he cares very much about the food, the service and the business as a whole. There’s been a few different chefs in the kitchen over the years but there’s always been a consistent theme to Sarti that Michael insists upon.
“The restaurant has always been the restaurant. We’ve always given the best service, the level of food has always been up there. We’ve always tried to maintain that one-hat status. Our standards have always been drilled into all of our staff.”
Service is such a vital part of a restaurant experience and Michael’s love of the craft of service is vital to Sarti. What is it that he still loves about front-of-house work?
“I like helping people have a good time. I like making people happy. They are coming out, they are spending money to have a good time. If I’m just walking around and dropping off food, pouring a glass of wine, I don’t really need to be here. See, that’s the thing anyone can do. It’s the magic on top of that, that matters. It’s the personal touch. I’ve got a space of two hours to meet someone and make them my best friend at the end of the service. It’s two hours and it matters.”
“Sometimes I stand back, and I still get goosebumps just talking about it, because I love what I do. Especially when you’ve been here from day one, I’ve seen the progression of staff, of food, of culture, of the way it grows, I love it.”
Michael needs to get back to setting up for service, but we have to ask, what is Sarti to you?
“Sarti to me is like a young, contemporary, fun little place, that serves great food and excellent cocktails and has an extensive wine list. You can come here for a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine and be out. Or you can stay over a long lunch, or a long dinner, there’s atmosphere and energy. It’s alive, its not like a boring restaurant where you go and just eat. Yep, I love that it’s alive.”
And with that, he’s off to get his staff into shape for another great service.