Jeffrey Smith was just 17 years old when he walked into Steve Martorano’s restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. “A guy I knew was a cook there and he would bring me their cheesesteaks—man, best cheesesteaks I’ve ever had. Anyway, I was looking for a job, so I decided to just walk in and ask Steve for a job,” Smith said. After some convincing and Smith’s willingness to start at the bottom and work his way up, he was hired.

“I cut the bread and made the desserts,” Smith said. “That was my job.” That was more than a dozen years ago. Today, Smith is the general manager for Martorano’s at Paris (He also ran the now-shuttered Martorano’s at Rio).

“I worked my way up; I proved myself,” Smith said. “I’d been a busser and barback, then a server. Eventually I started bartending. Then I was like the managers’ right-hand guy. Everyone took me under their wing, since I was the youngest. Growing up at Martorano’s, I got to work with great people and learn a lot.” Smith said he’s also learned a lot from the man whose name is on the marquee. Steve taught him to be passionate about the product, to be a hard worker and pitch in wherever help is needed, and years of mentorship has made him a better manager, Smith said.

“To me, Martorano’s is home. It’s Italian food that’s simple, but it’s done in a way where much attention is paid to the quality. It’s approachable. Just one taste and you’ll get it; you’ll see it’s the best in the world.”

Misses Sage

With more than a dozen specialty cocktails on the menu, Smith said they’re all scratch-made using fresh fruits and herbs, purées, syrups and juices. Martorano’s is also introducing its own house-made limoncellos and sangria to the menu. But one of the most popular cocktails, and one that’s been on the menu since day one, is the Misses Sage. The ridiculously delicious cocktail is mixed with Grey Goose La Poire vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, sage syrup, pear purée, sour mix and fresh-squeezed lemon juice.