Zafferano & Co. Friends: Alessandro Passante
Alessandro Passante is a young entrepreneur with a history of success in the restaurant, night club and music industries.
Alessandro was born and raised on the island of Capri, the “pearl of the Mediterranean,” known by the rich and famous for its exquisite beauty and unparalleled hospitality. With inherent passion and work ethic, Passante showed all of the early signs of a smart and savvy businessman.
At the age of 14, Passante threw himself into three of his family’s businesses, becoming an integral part of Capri’s business community. At the restaurant Tavernetta Namari, where his mother was head chef, Alessandro developed his knowledge and enthusiasm for food. Under the guidance of his brother Max, Alessandro managed and tended bar at Max Café, a jet-setter’s hot-spot, learning about service, hospitality and the restaurant-lounge business. In his free time, Alessandro worked at the family’s music store, where he sharpened his love and knowledge of the music industry. When he was 22, Passante moved to New York City, where he worked as a waiter at various downtown restaurants including; Pontevecchio Restaurant in the West Village; Boom in Soho and Le Zoo in Greenwhich Village. Understanding that overcoming challenges is vital to success, Passante dove into the music industry, working at a popular Italian radio station, Radio 105, which broadcasts live from New York and Miami to Italy. In a short time he became a reporter for the program “No Label,” with radio DJ, Marco Bioni, covering the nightlife and club scene in New York City. In 2002, Passante joined Touch, promoting the hottest New York clubs at the time, including Centro Fly, Lotus, Sullivan Room and Shine, among others.
His entrepreneurial spirit had fully set in by 2002 when he launched DJ Code, a cutting edge DJ agency, working with many of the top international DJs and producers from around the world, including Alex Neri from Planet Funk; John Howard from Om Records; DJ Collette & DJ Dayhota from Superjane Collective; DJs Disciple and Layo Bushwacka. It was while he was President of DJ Code that he organized the official after-concert for the famous bands, Gotan Project and Massive Attack, an event that was monumental in the industry.
In 2005, Passante joined forces with childhood friends Roberto Vuotto, and Samir Jahdadic, to open Naima Restaurant, located in the heart of what was growing into Chelsea’s club and gallery neighborhood. Orginally as the GM of the team, Passante worked his way up to Partner of Naima. Being a native of Capri, Passante has been instrumental in helping Naima to stay genuine to the traditional cuisine of the Island of Capri and the City of Naples. Benefiting greatly from his experience in music, food and nightlife, Naima remains a popular hot spot in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City.
Building on the success of Naima, Passante teamed up with other friends to open ONDA restaurant on historic Front Street, in the Financial District. With his record of success and savvy ability to be ahead of the trends, Passante’s ONDA restaurant arrives at a much-needed time in the financial district. As an Operating Partner, Passante’s innate sense of hospitality, dedication and style are the crux of ONDA and an expression of Passante’s love for hospitality, food and music.
After the closing of Onda restaurant at the end of 2010 I embraced a new venture this time in Englewood New Jersey, where I became Operating Partner & Event Coordinator of a Greek fine dining restaurant called Nisi Restaurant.
A fish orientated B-level classic Greek restaurant orchestrated by chef John Piliouras. At this bi-level 200 seat restaurant I organized several weddings, large banquets, sponsored event and a full music calendar featuring a long list of NY & NJ musicians.
6 months later, we opened Quench Wine Store in Fort Lee, a 1200 label store that represented worldwide wines with more focus on the "old world wines". This was for me an amazing opportunity to gain more experience and knowledge of the wine business as I was the store buyer and manager.
After the New Jersey experience ended I landed back in Manhattan and started a serious adventure with the Masseria Group. I was a floor manager at the Masseria Restaurant on 48 Street and Broadway, a busy southern Italian Fine dining restaurant in the Theater District were you had to be capable of doing 350 to 450 covers at night. After 6 Months I was hired from the Masseria Group to operate at the Masseria Dei Vini Restaurant in the Hells Kitchen area. The restaurant had a 125 seats and also featured a Neapolitan Brick Oven.
After signing a couple of consulting job here in Manhattan and one of them in Brazil to organize the staff for a beach club restaurant in the Baia area I finally arrived at Swine as a restaurant consultant. After my first 3 months relation I was asked to continue for another 3 months and again at the end of the second trimester I was asked to fully join Swine, a Dive bar & restaurant in the West Village where I'm currently still running the show!