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Nearly 45 years ago, when coffee was something dark and thick slurped from bottomless cups in all-nite
diners and espresso was a bitter brew found mainly in ethnic restaurants, Dominic P. Ammirati Sr.
decided to begin importing commercial espresso machines from Italy. The machines, he thought, would
complement his thriving house-wares business, started by his Neapolitan father near the family's east
Harlem, NY, apartment. Dominic was 54 at the time, perhaps too old to be considered a Turk or a visionary,
but perhaps just the right age to anticipate a trend whose time would soon come.
Determined to bring the best espresso machine to the American market, Dominic traveled to Milan, Italy
and began a relationship with La Cimbali that continues today, becoming the first person to bring the
renowned manufacturer's machines to the United States. As legend tells, Dominic carried the first machine

back to America in his luggage before setting up Ammirati Imports, a family business spanning three
generations, to date, which now brings more than 300 La Cimbali espresso machines from Italy into the
United States for sale to cafes and restaurants nationwide annually.
But in 1964, the market for commercial espresso machines was small at best. "Little by little, it grew," said
Dominic a few years ago, describing those first years. In the early days, Dominic primarily sold the
machines to restaurants and cafes in ethnic enclaves throughout Manhattan, to French, Spanish, Italian
and Jewish business owners who hoped to recreate the espresso experience remembered from childhood
and travel abroad.
But with diligence, perseverance and determination, Dominic and his son, Tommy Ammirati, built a business
importing and selling espresso machines and coffee that eventually surpassed and swallowed up the
original housewares business. In the mid 1970s, the father-son team also began roasting their own coffee
and espresso called Cafe Ammi, with much success. But soon the market that already seemed so good
would explode into greatness.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, with a caffeinated surge, a coffee craze took hold of the United States.
Cafes began to crop up on nearly every city street corner. "Cappuccino," "ristretto," and "macchiato,"
became household words, as Americans learned about the delights of coffee and the culture that surrounds it.
And the Ammirati's, with 30 years of experience already under its belt, were uniquely poised to bring the
best in Italian espresso machines and coffee to an enthusiastic marketplace.
Today, a third generation of Ammirati's raised amid the scent of roasting coffee and the whirring of grinders
continues to bring a highly respected blend of coffee products -- including La Cimbali espresso machines,
Lavazza premium coffees, Mighty Leaf fine teas and Fabbri 1905 flavored syrups
among much else – to some of the most well-known cafes and restaurants across the United States.
Dominic Ammirati Sr., who passed away in June 2002 after a long illness, felt blessed in his success. "I've done
almost everything I've ever wanted to do," he said in an interview in 1995, adding that what he'd like most to
be remembered for is "having a good family."
His family, including grandsons Dominic Ammirati Jr., T.J. Tarateta, Michael Ammirati, and Joseph Ammirati today

build upon the success that Dominic Sr. and his son Tommy created in the family's long history of importing and

distributing coffee, espresso machines, and related products.  With a new showroom and warehouse in Pelham,

NY, the next generation continues to bring the best in espresso to an American marketplace that continues to
embrace coffee with enthusiasm.



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