Photo of chef Justin Aprahamian by Adam Ryan Morris
The question is banal but posed anyway. “How does it feel to own Sanford?”
“It feels, well, crazy,” replies Justin Aprahamian, who has now assumed the title “chef/owner” of the acclaimed Jackson Street restaurant opened in 1989 by Sandy (James Beard Award winner) and Angie D’Amato. The couple’s decision to sell was not precipitous. Aprahamian, 29, has worked at Sanford for more than 10 years. The D’Amatos, who sold Coquette Café in 2010, have a second home in Massachusetts. For many months, Sandy has been engrossed in writing a memoir/cookbook. A few years ago, Sandy asked Justin, “where I found myself going,” Aprahamian says. Owning a restaurant, eventually, was the goal. Meanwhile, the D’Amatos have had less of a presence at Sanford in the last two years. Between the restaurant and writing a business plan, Aprahamian has little breathing room. He and his fiancée, Sarah Mudrock (a Sanford employee of nine years), will run the restaurant together. As for the future, Aprahamian says he’ll “continue to explore different foods and things available from local farmers.” Of Aprahamian, Sandy D’Amato says he “can’t wait to see how he grows.” Neither can we. (1547 N. Jackson St., 414-276-9608)
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