Also during his time in Florence, Michael would befriend his now business partner Vinny Dautaj, who worked at a local restaurant in Florence. As fate continued to play its hand, Vinny would go on to marry an American girl, move to New York and reconnect with Michael. Monthly catch-ups often turned into discussions of dreams and goals. The two of them, both itching to do more, kept coming back to the incredible business and following of Antico Noè and how nothing in NYC compares. The two formed a strategy for Vinny’s next trip home to Florence where he would recite a well rehearsed pitch to convince the owners of Antico Noè to let the duo replicate their authenticity in the US.
After months of discussions, the two, utilizing their respective backgrounds in corporate finance and restaurant operations, convinced the Italian owners to expand the brand to the U.S. under their control. To ensure consistent quality and an adherence to tradition and taste, the US-based team studied and trained at the Florence location learning the various secret bread and sauce recipes, as well as coming to understand the magic of the little “sandwich shop” in order to replicate and offer an authentic panini experience.