Cristiano Ronaldo + Samy Sass + Michael Jordan

Samuel Treves – SASS’ Café celebrates its 30th Anniversary

Exclusive interview with Samuel Treves, better known as Samy Sass, who shares the secrets of 30 years of prosperity.

Established in 1993, SASS’ Café, named after its owner “Sassa”, is one of the most historical venues in Monaco where you can dine, drink and dance all night long.

This prestigious family institution, founded by Salvador Treves aka Sassa and his wife Yolande known as Yoyo, has become a party platform over the years where handpicked guests feel at home thanks to a cordial reception every night.

Salvador Treves, born in Barcelona in 1937 and raised in Marseille, landed in Monaco in 1946 where he discovered the nightlife with the opening of the celebrities hotspot Tiffany’s club he was managing together with entrepreneur Max Poggi.

End of summer 1993, Monsieur Michel Pastor, owner of Pastor Immobilier gave him carte blanche to make a success of the ground floor premises of the Columbia building located on the prestigious Princess Grace Avenue.

SASS’ Café’s adventure started. Sassa immediately turned this establishment into a piano-bar restaurant. Yolande, Sassa’s wife, was dreaming in big for that place. At that particular time, she, owner of four boutiques on that same avenue, was supporting SASS’ Café financially. And every evening, she was turning into the mistress of the place orchestrating the evenings of each of the guests. In an eye wink, these nightlife magnats made together SASS’ Café becoming a trendy place, insuring a warm and festive atmosphere.

Sassa’s son, Samuel Treves, mostly known as Samy got into the family business at a very early age.

Did you always wanted to work in the restaurant industry?

When I was young I did not have any precise idea of what I wanted to do careerwise.I remember, I was like 13-14 years old just studying it and saying, okay, let’s go to university and see after what comes out of it,” – starts Samy.

How did this change when your father opened SASS’ Cafe?

My dad started this business when I was 14 years old and it had a great impact on me. 

I was attentive to his job, and more and more, year after year of observation, I started to like the business.

When I became 18, I graduated with a choice. I could go to university or I could start maybe working with my dad. And I always liked this life because, of course, when I was at home and not working, my dad every day was explaining what’s going on, what happened.

I got the “family virus”, I started working and I really enjoyed it.

In 1997, at the age of 19, Samy, got involved in the management of this successful family- owned restaurant.

Samy now took over the establishment, still with the duo of founders by his side, maintaining it until today, thirty years later, to the level of Monégasque institution.

Was it difficult to work in a family business? Did you have any challenge?

Listen, working with family is always complicated in a way. We always say we can choose our friends, but we can’t choose our family,” – starts Samy with a big laugh. – “But I was lucky to have a great father and my mother. 

It is very important to mention they started the business together and they empowered and supported each other.

The age gap between you and your father, Sassa, is 40 years. Did you have any conflict of generation during the years?

We only have good fights,” – jokes Samy. – “Look, I have 40 years of difference with my dad. So there’s a gap especially when you come up with new ideas. He says no, then you need to fight for it, but he always listens.

Do you consider yourself lucky to working for your father?

There are the good things and the bad things, but I definitely enjoyed some upside of it. Because at business typically you are not allowed to make mistakes but when you have a father who is understandable, like mine was, it was more like, okay, next time you won’t do it again.

Since 1993, this legendary venue, brought to this stage with word-to-mouth, welcomes international guests from all generations looking for prestige and party and SASS’ Café became an inescapable entertainment destination in Monaco.

A drink at the bar, a gourmet dinner in a mesmerizing decor as the night goes by, and then, a magic happens as SASS’ Café transforms itself… Live musicians appear and voices soar. Later on, the eclectic mixes from their DJs take over, and the party goes on a mythical atmosphere until the break of dawn. 

Were there any changes during the past decades because of your ideas and suggestions?

Well, we are like a tree. We are able to grow because we have strong roots thanks to my father. Of course we need to maintain our momentum,”  – starts Samy. – “When I jumped on the family business train my primary task was to put more charcoal into the fire and keep the train rolling. Of course I traveled a lot and tried to soak in inspirations to improve.

Thanks to Samy’s various experiences in prestigious night clubs in London, he brought a new breathe into SASS’ Café, modernizing it both in concept and in the aesthetics of the premises. 

With an outstanding sense of relationships, Samy continues to develop a clientele among the new generation.

I opened a nightclub in London in 2004 as I wanted to understand the clubbing business. We already had a successful restaurant, but I foresee the demand for nightclub life. I was in London every two weeks to understand the clubbing business. 

After a year and a half, I brought my knowledge back to Monaco and replicated it here, to blend it with the restaurant. This is where I would say that I came in with the demand of the customers. And then slowly, I started to I took over the family business.

In September 2023, SASS’ Café will be celebrating its 30 years anniversary looking back to memorable nights spent since three decades.

How would you compare London to Monaco?

I would say it’s maybe much easier here because Monaco is smaller. London is huge with many private clubs, compare to Monaco with its 39,150 residents. It is also easier because everybody knows everybody. I always say that SASS’ Cafe is a membership club without being a member.

Since 1993, although he is now 85 years old, Sassa is still every evening at SASS’ Café, sitting at the same table. It is without any doubt that Sassa and Yolande will be in the front row to celebrate this anniversary.

My dad is here, he’s aware of everything,” – laughs Samy. – “He comes here every night but of course nowadays I’m more driving and he’s my copilot, which was the contrary many years ago.

Entirely renovated in 2019 by Green & Mingarelli Design, the SASS’ Café plays on textures and colors presenting a panel of noble materials and bright colors such as velvet, leather, gold and burgundy red. Warm colours, walls adorned with paintings, and a ceiling crowned with chandeliers, the SASS’ Café immerses its guests in a baroque setting, unique on Princess Grace Avenue.

Since years, passers-by also witness it as the restaurant’s dazzling atmosphere extends to the terrace, vibrating and abundant with guests. But the terrace is only the tip of the iceberg.

Looking back to 30 years, what makes SASS’ Cafe unique?

We are a stable family business and as I often say, your night at SASS’ is always an unpredictable experience. You never know what’s going on inside. You can come for an evening that you think it’s going to be very quiet and you end up like a crazy party. And every night is different.

The central space of the restaurant, the main area of the establishment, has a piano on which it often happens that the guests devote themselves to their musical talent. 

French singer Patrick Bruel once surprised the guests to sing some refrains of his most famous titles during one of his appearances at the restaurant.

The second dining area, next to the piano lounge, is where resident DJs Reda and Sacha Moreno are installed, sometimes gently jostled by celebrities as F1 driver Lando Norris or American rapper Travis Scott, for the latest, appropriating the turntables of the SASS’ for an evening.

For all hedonists with sophisticated taste buds, SASS’ Café offers a fine-dining experience at its best. The perfect place to enjoy a festive dinner and discover a refined menu that features Mediterranean and Italian dishes with their Chef’s special touch. 

With dishes ranging from Salads, Pasta & Risotto to Fish & Meats, the cuisine also presents top quality pieces as Caviar and Wagyu Beef. The motto at SASS’ Café is “come for the food, stay for the party”.

Samy, you are a notorious foodie yourself. What is your favourite dish from the menu?

Oh, there’s a few, but the main one is the Filet de Boeuf Angus USA  à la Sassa. This is one of our signature dishes that you don’t find someone else. And it is special to my heart because it reminds me of my childhood, my family.

SASS’ Café also presents an extensive selection of premium wines from all over the world for a perfect pairing with highly curated dishes. 

Their bar features a tailor-made refined cocktail list as well as a hand-picked collection of the most exceptional and sophisticated spirits; Clase Azul tequila, Louis XIII Cognac and so on, which will please the most discerning palates.

Do you think the SASS’ legacy will further develop over the next decades?

We’ll try to continue our journey and see how it goes. Maybe one of the day one of my kids will take over like I did with my father. My oldest one is really likes the business.

On a final note, what was the best advice you ever received from your parents?

Respect. Respect to the clients, to the employees, and treat everyone as someone important. That’s what we do here and I believe that’s why we are here since 30 years.

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