Do you get a lot of celebrities?
All the movie stars come over here, like Sofia Loren. A lot of movie stars — Brooke Shields, Johnny Depp. The last person I served was Eva Longoria — she would come every year with her friends before she married the basketball player — we had a lot of fun. Now this year she no come. That’s not nice!
How about athletes?
You know who comes is Mike Piazza. And a lot of football players. I got a picture of Tiki Barber. Come in and see my fame wall!
How is the place allowed to operate as a cigar bar?
The cigar bar was before the law went through — they’re going back and forth with the city, fighting for the license. I don’t like to get into that sort of stuff.
How about the upstairs club? How does one become a member?
That I don’t know — you gotta talk to my boss [Lawrence Amoruso declined to comment about the club]. You’re not allowed to go unless you’re a member.
What sort of cigars do you have? What’s the most expensive one?
We have cigars that are $20, $25, $28. We got cognac hand-rolled. We got a lot of hand-rolled from San Domingo, Honduras. He’s got 2,000 cigars from all over. I’m just a waiter on the floor — when it comes to cigars, I don’t want to be involved.
How old are you? Do you ever feel the effects of working amidst so much smoke?
I’m 66 — very soon I’ll be three sixes and I’ll be the devil! I worked years ago when everybody smoked — I already worked in a smoky area so I don’t worry about it.
You seem to get a lot of military people?
General [Peter] Pace [former Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of staff] was here six months ago. My boss is very friendly with the military bases. He does a lot of benefits for these people. He sends cigars to the troops. Memorial weekend, there was so many military people here, forget about it — marines, the navy, the restaurant jumped day and night. My boss buys drinks for these people and everything. A lot of customers buy dinner for these people. We had a group of 40 people with no legs or arms — my boss gave them free dinner, cigars, and everything.
There’s a photo of Bush on your wall. Do people argue about politics?
My boss likes Republicans, he doesn’t like the Democrats. But you gotta be smart — you don’t talk politics in a restaurant.