Gherardo Guarducci was born in 1966 in Prato, Italy, 7 miles north of Florence. He lived in Canada and Switzerland, and after graduating from Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, with a degree in business administration, he entered the family’s textile trading business, where he worked in Hong Kong, Viet Nam, Bangladesh and Thailand. In 1991, Gherardo went out on his own and founded Focaccia Fiorentina, a collection of Italian sandwich shops located in Manhattan, London, and Phoenix, Arizona. In 2003, he and his partner Dimitri Pauli founded SA Hospitality Group, which today owns and operates Sant Ambroeus Madison Avenue, Sant Ambroeus West Village, Sant Ambroeus Southampton, Casa Lever at the Lever House, Felice 64th Street, Felice 83rd Street, and Felice 15 Gold Street Wine Bar and Restaurants, Sant Ambroeus SoHo, Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar at Loews Regency Hotel, Sant Ambroeus Coffee Bar at Sotheby’s and and most recently Sant Ambroeus Restaurant in Palm Beach.
Dimitri Pauli was born in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1964 but grew up in Milan, Italy, where he attended the German International School. After attending 4 years of law school at University of Pavia, Dimitri decided to join the family business in Milan. In 1986, Dimitri joined his parents, Hans and Francesca Pauli, in the management of the family-owned, internationally-famous Sant Ambroeus restaurant and pasticceria, located at 1000 Madison Avenue in New York City and in operation continuously since 1983. Dimitri expanded the family operations in 1992 by opening a new Sant Ambroeus restaurant and pasticceria in the prestigious resort community of Southampton, New York. Following this success, in 1997, he then opened Via Quadronno Paninoteca, modeled after the original Via Quadronno Paninoteca founded by his father Hans in Milan in 1970, on 25 East 73 Street. In 2003 he and his partner Gherardo Guarducci founded SA Hospitality Group.
Jacopo Giustiniani, a native of Italy, has wine culture in his blood. Surrounded by oenophiles, he was raised between his family’s winery, the Fattoria Sardi in Lucca, and his hometown of Florence. In December 2007, Jacopo turned his passion for preserving the traditions of Italian wines into Felice Wine Bar on the Upper East Side. Through Felice, Jacopo brings New Yorkers a personal experience based on his cultural values and his family’s legacy. During his formal education at Università di Firenze (University of Florence), he spent a lot of time overseeing and learning at his family winery. The Fattoria Sardi includes 19 hectares (47 acres) of vineyards located in the renowned wine region of Colline Lucchesi. After earning a business degree in 2004 and a Master’s degree in 2006, Jacopo moved to the US to become the wine buyer for the SA Hospitality Group. He brought his young and active management style as well as his family’s extensive knowledge of wine production to the restaurant.