Chef Sammy Gnasso was born and raised in Fort Lee, New Jersey. After graduating from Fort Lee High School he enrolled in chef school at the Culinary Institute of America in Hide Park. Before attending chef school Sam had a lot of fun in Fort Lee. His first job was at Johnnie Viola's Squeeze Box Restaurant as Johnnie's first busboy back in the early 70's. When they closed Sam tried a different venture, as he then went to work for Mr. Feiler at the Atlas 5 & 10 on Main Street, the old Fort Lee institution. A few years later Sam could not get that restaurant bug out of him and went across the street to a new restaurant called The Clam Casino opened by the infamous Donald Spoza. Several months of being Donald's first busboy Sam quickly decided to be a waiter and had a blast. Now being that high school was over it was time to get serious and go to chef school. The Culinary Institute of America was a great experience but after graduation Sam could not leave. He was offered an internship as an assistant instructor in advanced tableside service. Sam worked for the Culinary Institute of America for only 3 months and was offered a head captain's position at the New Luchow's German restaurant down on 14th street in New York City. This place was a haven for who's who in New York City. In one week alone Sam had the pleasure of serving Henry Kissinger, Gilda Radner, Jane Curtin, Garret Morris, Paul Shaffer and Lindsey Wagner. Sam quickly moved up the corporate ladder and was asked to manage other famous restaurants this company held. Charlie O's in Rockefeller Center was one of the greats as well as the American Charcuterie on the first floor of the CBS building. Not to mention the US Steak House with which was the flagship restaurant of the American Hospitality Restaurant Corp that was honorably marked on Sam's resume.
After 4 years in New York City Sam decided to get back to New Jersey and his roots. His 80-year-old grandmother Florence Gnasso owned a small piece of property, which housed a small commercial building. Sam was sure this would be a great place to open a kitchen to do catering. They opened Classic Touch Catering and it became Fort Lee's first premier gourmet caterer. Sam quickly became the toast of Bergen County and was busy catering every topnotch party to be had. Soon Sam was discovered by Arthur Imperator A-P-A Trucking who needed an incredible caterer for his incredibly luxurious 143-foot corporate yacht the Imperator. Sam was requested to wine and dine his customers each evening around the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Island. After 4 years of yachting Sam felt it was time to open his own restaurant (Memories) after numerous years of impeccable service in his grandmother's 100-year-old house on Main Street in Fort Lee. American and continental cuisine was the fare and Memories soon became Bergen County's hottest new eating spot. A few years later Sam built a banquet room above the restaurant to accommodate up to 140 of your closest friends. Memories grew a reputation quick to be the place to have your wedding, engagement, birthday party, shower, or any occasion of importance. After a wonderful 10-year run Sam decided to reinvent himself and opened his current restaurant that is North Jersey's premiere Italian steak and seafood restaurant In Napoli. Getting back to his Italian roots this extraordinary restaurant features prime dry-aged steaks, live lobsters, succulent veal, marvelous chicken dishes, wonderful pasta creations and homemade desserts that make customers come back eagerly for more. In Napoli also features a complimentary cold antipasto table for all their dinner guests.
Sam is currently featured on his own cable TV cooking show on Time Warner Cable Channel 10 News. Every Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights at 8pm Sam can be seen whipping up new gourmet dishes with local celebrities. In Napoli itself is a magnet for all Hollywood celebrities to come and wine and dine. This year alone In Napoli had the opportunity to serve such notables as Larry Hagman of 'Dallas', Linda Blair of 'The Exorcist', most of the cast of the 'Sopranos', Wednesday, Pugsly and Cousin Itt from 'The Adams Family', Loretta Swit and Jammie Farr of 'MASH' fame, the wonderful Danny Aiello not to mention Uncle Floyd, Mark Goddard, June Lockhart from 'Lost In Space' and many many others. You never know what celebrity you will be dining near when you come and eat at In Napoli. Fine dining and unforgettable memories are made at In Napoli, stop by and see for yourself. From Sam's family to yours he wishes you Buon Appetito.